So what IS caveman cookin'? To La Diva, it's making those wonderful meat dishes that are so delicious and succulent that you just have to pick up the meat and gnaw it right off the bone to get every juicy bit! Eating dishes like this takes me to a primordial place and I'm happy that I can let go of my manners and eat like a caveman every once in a while! So, what WAS the caveman dish I made last night?
I prepared the most DIVINE braised lamb shanks. Darlings, every so often, La Diva CRAVES the comfort foods that cook slow and long. I was having company for dinner and wanted to indulge my hard-working friends with a soul-satisfying weekend dinner on a week night. This recipe does take a good three hours to prepare and cook (half hour prep, 2 1/2 hour cook) but it is WELL WORTH IT. Your family and friends will love you forever....as well as not being able to stop themselves from sucking on the bones like a Cro-magnon!
Here are some notes before you start:
- Use a good quality wine for this dish as it will be a main flavor component. I found a lovely French red syrah that I bought for under $10 and drank it with dinner as well.
- Due to the volume of liquids used in this dish, I had to split it all up between two heavy bottomed pans. Of course, if you have a braising pan or Dutch oven, either would be perfect.
- A lot of braising recipes call for tomatoes but I like the taste of the wine and feel it is less acidic without them.
- This is an easy recipe with great results if you are patient.
- THIS IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE: Before you do anything, you MUST pour yourself a glass of the red. It's vital that the wine is of good quality and La Diva feels that it may only be tested properly while sipping in a lovely fine glass while you chop the veggies! So, make sure you buy extra bottles!
La Diva's braised lamb shanks
6 lamb shanks
1 750 ml bottle of quality red wine
2 c low sodium chicken broth
2 c low sodium beef broth
2 medium onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
10 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
3 large carrots, cut into thick rounds
a few sprigs of each fresh or dried: rosemary, thyme, marjoram or sage
salt and pepper to taste
extras: minced fresh parsley, lemon zest
Heat oil in a heavy large pot over a medium high heat. Salt and pepper shanks and brown on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove and rest on platter.
Add onions, celery, carrot and garlic and saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Add herbs, wine and broth and then the shanks, making sure they are covered in the liquid as much as possible. Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about two hours or until meat is tender.
Remove cover from pot and continue simmering for an additional 20 minutes. Carefully remove the meat and put into a warm oven while the sauce simmers for an additional 20-30 minutes, cooking until sauce is thickened. Remove shanks from oven and put into a large shallow bowl. Spoon the sauce over the meat and garnish with fresh parsley and lemon zest.
I served the shanks with pureed parsnips and potatoes with loads of butter and steamed Brussels sprouts. For dessert, a simple berry cobbler with natural vanilla ice cream. Darlings, you've not LIVED until you've savored a dish that took hours to prepare, the proof being the bone-gnawing of my guests (as well as my sidekick DJ Nevah L8 who looked so cute with that bone in his maw.) So, go on, darlings, release your inner caveman and partake in your primal past. GRrrrr! Ahem, I meant to say, Ciao!