Balsamic Braised Grass-Fed Lamb Shanks

vella cheddar grits and gremolata bread crumbs

Pair with Long Meadow Ranch Merlot, Napa Valley
Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford
Lamb Shanks
  • 6 lb grass-fed lamb shanks (6–8 shanks, depending on size), trimmed
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary

  • 1 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds

  • 7 garlic cloves, 1 grated, 6 minced

  • Zest from 1 lemon

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 large onions, minced

  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1.5 cups balsamic vinegar

  • 4 cups (or more) chicken broth or lamb stock

  • 2 tbsp EVOO

  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup clarified butter or ghee
  • 3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • Season lamb shanks all over with 2 tbsp salt and generously with pepper. Mix rosemary, fennel seeds, lemon zest and grated garlic in a small bowl. Rub shanks with the mixture and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or chill overnight.
  •  Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high heat.
  • Sear shanks on all sides in small batches and remove from pot.
  • Scrape any crusty bits from the lamb-searing off the bottom of your pot (don’t discard, just scrape them up to loosen them and prevent them from burning).
  • Next sweat onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden, 8–10 minutes.
  • Add minced garlic, flour, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to distribute the flour.
  • Gradually stir in 4 cups broth and balsamic vinegar. Simmer until flavors meld, 3–4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lamb shanks to pot in a single layer, pushing them down until they are at least 3/4 submerged.
  • Cover and cook, turning shanks occasionally, until meat is fork-tender and almost falling off the bone, 1.5 to 2 hours (time will depend on the size of shanks). Remove from oven and skim off fat from surface of sauce. Let shanks rest in liquid for at least 30 minutes. This will also benefit from sitting overnight.
  • Remove the shanks from the pot and strain the liquid into a saucepan. Discard the solids.
  • Cook the sauce over medium heat until it has reduced by half. This should take 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and more vinegar if desired. Then pour over the shanks when serving.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Slowly stir in the grits.
  • Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring frequently, until the grits are tender, 20 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter, and cream.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
  • Heat clarified butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the fat is hot add the Panko and continually toss to keep from burning.
  • Once it is golden brown remove from pan and cool on a sheet tray.
  •  Add a pinch of salt for seasoning.
  • Using a sharp knife, mince parsley and mix with remaining ingredients in a small bowl; toss to evenly incorporate. Add the cooled breadcrumbs and it’s ready to use.
  • Place grits in center of bowl or plate and rest lamb shank on top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and parsley, and drizzle with EVOO.