Yes, I admit it. I missed June. My monthly cooking challenge just somehow slipped by me. And, while I had July planned early, I barely got it in under the wire, too. Life. You know. So, I worked really hard to make it happen this month and…these are the shanks I get?
In case you haven’t guessed this month’s “mystery recipe”, it is braised lamb shanks. A dish I had only sampled at restaurants. It is a favorite choice of mine at a particular Cuban cuisine spot near where I used to work.
The breakdown for cooking this treat is fairly straightforward, with but an item or two of pause.
Of course, my go-to for meats, Penn Dutch, had excellent lamb shanks to offer up. These are the shanks I get! The recipe calls for 6 shanks (when will I ever find a recipe that asks for just 2 of something). They came in packs of two (no comment), so three packs went in the cart.
Aside: Of course, that’s not all that went in the cart, but no need to go there…
According to the recipe, I needed carrots, onions, garlic, beef broth, chicken broth, some spices and red wine.
Wait. Red wine??
I don’t drink wine. I don’t like wine. Now, this recipe wanted me to pour it all over some meat? Meh.
Of course, with my less-than-zero knowledge of wines, I had to call upon family. My Dad referred me to my cousin, who not only cooks quite a lot, but uses wine quite a lot (and drinks it, too, but I don’t judge).
He gave me the name of a red wine to use and a quick stop at Total Wine answered the call.
Oh, look at that. I got diced tomatoes instead of whole peeled. I would have sworn I got whole peeled because I had a devil of a time locating them on my first shopping trip. Sigh.
Thankfully, Publix is 3 minutes away. Whole peeled now in hand, it’s time to get started.
Ah, the famous Dutch Oven. Back in service.
I need to come up with a better spot to store it, though. Back of the bottom shelf in the pantry is grievous when trying to pull it out for the occasional meal.
Still, done is done. Browning the shanks first, then removing them for the sauce.
The recipe called for a full bottle (750 ml) of wine. Um. No. I went with half. Oh sure, “the wine will reduce out”. Yeah, still no.
So, back in the pot with the shanks and then simmer for 2 hours.
Now, the tricky part. Remove the shanks and boil down the sauce to a thicker concoction.
Eh, except, it didn’t seem to work. Not getting thicker, here, peeps.
Worried that the shanks would start drying out, I called it a day and went with what I had.
It’s an easy recipe to make, compared to some others during my challenge. But, I’m still puzzling over that “thickening” effort. Didn’t seem to come close.
The taste? Not bad. Not as rich or sweet as what I’ve had in the restaurants, so I may have some adjustments to future dishes.