While this dish takes more than three hours to complete, it can be left unattended much of the time. Nestle the lamb shanks in the pan so they're surrounded by cooking liquid. The long, slow braising process yields fork-tender, succulent meat.
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 (12-ounce) lamb shanks, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
4 kalamata olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge lamb in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess flour. Add 2 shanks to pan; cook for 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure twice with remaining lamb shanks.
Add garlic to pan; sauté for 1 minute. Add orange juice, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in wine; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes. Stir in beef broth, thyme, and tomato paste; return to a boil. Remove from heat.
Add lamb to pan; cover and bake at 350° for 2 hours. Stir in rind and olives; bake an additional 30 minutes or until lamb is very tender. Place lamb on a platter; keep warm.
Place a large zip-top plastic bag inside a 4-cup glass measure. Pour cooking liquid into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain cooking liquid and olives into pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Bring cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 2 cups (about 20 minutes).
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We had a whole lamb last year, and tonight we were down to one shank, so I used it and a few pieces of neck. Yes, neck. It is just as delicious as the shank and very meaty. This recipe creates a beautiful braising liquid with lovely notes of orange and the kalamatas add the perfect amount of saltiness. Will definitely make it again and would happily serve to guests since tonight's endeavor won high praise from all.