One of my favorite comfort food meals is lamb shanks slow-braised in a rich wine-and-tomato ragu. --- If you prefer, you could substitute veal, beef or pork shanks.
I was just cooking for two people when I took these photos, so the recipe calls for two shanks. However, you can use the same recipe for four shanks.
2-4 lamb shanks
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 carrot, minced
1 celery rib, minced
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Combine the minced garlic, celery, onion and carrot in a bowl. This combination is known as mirepoix.
Generously salt and pepper the lamb shanks.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the shanks on all sides.
Remove the shanks from the oil and place on a plate or cutting board.
Add the mirepoix to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the beef broth, crushed tomatoes, wine, and the herbs to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, scraping up the meaty bits from the bottom of the pot.
Return the lamb shanks to the pot, cover and place in the preheated oven.
Cook in the oven until the meat falls easily off the bone, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Carefully remove the shanks from the pot so you don't lose any meat. Place them on a plate and tent with foil.
Remove the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf from the pot and discard. Bring the braising liquid to a boil and reduce by about one-quarter, or until thickened into a hearty sauce.
Serve the lamb shanks with pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, etc. and ladle the braised sauce on top.
I recommend a nice bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape with the braised lamb shanks.
Photos by Ted Scheffler