Lamb shanks are a delicious way to enjoy lamb without the high price of rack of lamb, plus they are fairly simple to prepare. I love serving lamb with sweet and intense flavors like curry and grapes. it really balances out the gamey flavor of the meat.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 lamb shanks
1 large onion, medium diced
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons toasted fennel seed
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 cups dark chicken stock or veal or beef stock
1 bunch grapes (8 grapes per person)
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of half an orange
1/4 loosely packed mint, chiffonade
1/2 cup loosely packed basil, chiffonade
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon hot curry
1/2 teaspoon yellow curry
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Heat the oil in a large roasting pan over high heat.
Season the lamb shanks with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When the oil is very hot, add the shanks and brown on all sides. Remove the shanks to a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and sweat them for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, sautéing for about 30 seconds. Pour in a little of the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the browned bits from the bottom as the liquid evaporates. Add the rest of the wine, the vinegar, Worcestershire, and the sherry and simmer to reduce by half. Add the tomato paste, stirring as it melts into the liquid.
Return the shanks to the pan, add the toasted fennel and mustard seeds and stock, and cover the pan. Transfer to the oven and braise until very tender,1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Remove the shanks from the braising liquid and set aside. Strain the liquid and simmer to reduce by more than half for a rich sauce. Season the sauce to taste.
Reduce the oven temperature to 275° F.
Pull the grapes from the stems and place on a silpat or wax paper on a cookie sheet. Roast until the grapes are shriveled but not completely dry, 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Toss with lemon zest, orange zest, mint and basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Cut the head of cauliflower in half and cut out most of the stem. Slice the florets into ¼-inch-thick slices. Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and sweat them for 1-2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat with the butter and oil. Sauté until the cauliflower releases much of its liquid and begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to sauté for an additional 10 minutes, tossing often. Cook the florets until they are just tender. Add the curry powders, tossing to coat the florets, and season with salt and pepper.
Reheat the lamb shanks and the sauce. Serve the lamb over the cauliflower and top with the sauce and gremolata.