Fortunately, I let my prior experiences with Molly Stevens' recipes outweigh my experiences with curry powder and tried her recipe for Braised Lamb Shanks with Lentils and Curry from All About Braising. In this braise, the curry powder is noticeable, but plays a supporting role to the aromatics, lamb broth, and tomatoes that make up the slightly spicy braising liquid; a good baguette is a necessity for sopping up the last few spoonfuls of the liquid. Lentils are a natural accompaniment to lamb and this dish is no exception. Lamb, lentils, and a crunchy baguette and you have yourself perfection in a bowl.
Lamb Shanks Braised with Lentils & Curry
Adapted from All About Braising
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 lamb shanks
- salt and pepper
- 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp Madras curry powder
- 1 tbsp plus 1/2 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup canned whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 2 cups lamb stock
- 1/2 lb French lentils
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
- lemon wedges or red wine vinegar for serving
Heat the oven to 300F.
Dry the lamb shanks with a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large braising dish. Add as many lamb shanks as will comfortably fit in the pan and cook until well browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Set the shanks on a plate and brown the remaining batches.
Discard all but 2 tbsp of fat from the braising dish. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the curry powder, 1 tbsp of the thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the tomatoes and stock. Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Let the liquid boil for 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon a few times to dislodge the brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and nestle in the lamb shanks. Let the liquid return to a simmer then cover the braising dish and add it to the oven. Braise for 2.5 hours, flipping the lamb shanks once as they cook.
Meanwhile, parcook the lentils while the lamb cooks. Add the lentils, 6 cups of water, a 1/2 tbsp of thyme, and 1 bay leaf to a large pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the lentils for 30 minutes. Drain the lentils and set them aside to cool on a large plate.
Once the lamb shanks have braised for 2.5 hours, remove the braising dish from the oven. Set the lamb shanks on a plate. Stir the lentils into the braising liquid and add the lamb shanks back to the braising dish and cover the dish. Continue to braise the lamb in the oven until the lamb is falling off the bone and then lentils are tender, approximately 30 minutes.
Remove the lamb shanks from the braising dish and set them on a plate. Taste the braising liquid for salt and pepper. Spoon the lentils with the braising liquid into serving bowls and top each bowl with a lamb shank. Garnish the bowls with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately, allowing your guests to sprinkle a few drops of vinegar or lemon juice over their bowl if desired.