Cooking the beans and lamb at the same time frees you to work on other recipes in the menu. We loved the use of dry beans, but for a quicker approach, substitute drained canned beans. Just stir them in along with the bacon.
6 (3/4-pound) lamb shanks, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups finely chopped carrot
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 cup dried cannellini beans or other white beans
4 bacon slices
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Rosemary sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb; cook 12 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from skillet. Add carrot, onion, and celery to skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add wine. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes. Stir in broth, rosemary, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Return lamb to skillet (skillet will be very full). Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until lamb is very tender, turning lamb once. Remove lamb from skillet; bring liquid to a boil, and cook 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans; place in Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until tender. Drain.
Cook bacon in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from Dutch oven, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in Dutch oven. Crumble bacon. Heat drippings over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until golden. Stir in beans and bacon; remove from heat.
Divide beans evenly among 6 plates; arrange lamb on beans. Spoon sauce over lamb. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.
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I took a short cut, soaked the beans overnight, grilled the shanks to give it a nice smoky flavor and render whatever fat. Added all ingredients to crockpot and cooked on high for 4 hours, then low to keep warm for the next 2 hours. Made crispy bacon in the microwave, discard grease and crumbled over each serving. The whole family loved it.
This is so good I can't believe it! Did as another poster recommended to cook in the slow cooker while at work. Served with couscous. Don't be shy--Try it! It is great, especially if prepped for a slow cooker to eat after work.
I made this in my slow cooker, so I did things somewhat differently. I browned the meat in a skillet, transferred it to the slow cooker, and then sauteed the veggies (including garlic) in 2 tsp. of bacon fat in the same skillet. Used the red wine to deglaze the pan and then transferred the whole thing to the slow cooker, where I added 1 c. beef broth and everything else (except rosemary; I soaked the beans overnight before adding). I cooked it for about 10 hours on low. With one hour to go, I added the rosemary, and topped the results with the bacon bits. It turned out much more like a ragout or cassoulet, since the meat separated from the bones and shredded thanks to the long cooking time. The slow cooker, however, made this possible for a weeknight dinner instead of a special weekend feast. Served with a green salad and multi-grain bread. Earned raves from all my company!
This recipe really is a gem, and each serving is a lot of food. It's easy, it's attractive, and it's company quality. I followed the recipe exactly except for using 2 cans of cannellini beans instead of dried, and we couldn't tell the difference. Unlike many other CL recipes, this one has very few steps and few ingredients which makes it even more appealling. We're lamb lovers, bean lovers, and we wouldn't change a thing. Plate presentation is beautiful...try sprinkling parsley around the plate, it really dresses it up for company.
We'll definitely do this one again, and we'll do it often!!
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