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Coffee-Braised Lamb Shanks

SERVING SIZE: Serves 4 PREP TIME: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 3 hours

When you want something special to serve to company, these slow cooked lamb shanks are sure to get rave reviews. Seasoned with a mix of dry toasted spices, then braised low and slow in a blend of beef stock, coffee, tomatoes and chili powder, these succulent shanks are fall-off-the-bone tender. We promise it's worth the effort! This adapted recipe from David Lebovitz comes to us from Food Guru Channel. Photo by Karen Pavone Photography.

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INGREDIENTS

  1. For the Spice Mix:
  2. 2 tsp. coriander seeds
  3. 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  5. freshly ground pepper
  6. For the Meat:
  7. 4 grass fed Stemple Creek Lamb Shanks
  8. 2 Tbl. olive oil
  9. 1 large onion, peeled & diced
  10. 5 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
  11. 4 tsp. Ancho chile powder
  12. 2 cups beef stock (may substitute chicken stock)
  13. 1 cup strong coffee
  14. 3/4 cup diced canned tomatoes (with juice)
  15. 2 Tbl. red wine vinegar
  16. 1-2 tsp. hot sauce (Harissa or Sriracha are good)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Toast the coriander and fennel seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Crush the seeds with a mortar & pestle or spice mill and mix with salt, and a couple grinds of pepper.
  3. Trim excess fat, tough membranes and silver skin from the lamb shanks, then dry rub with the spice mixture. Note: you can do this step up to 2 days in advance of cooking, and store meat covered in the refrigerator, to allow the flavors to permeate.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or casserole large enough to hold the shanks in a single layer. Add the shanks and cook them, turning after each side is well browned, until they are golden on all sides (about 15 minutes).
  5. Remove the browned shanks to a plate, and set aside.
  6. Wipe any excess grease from the pot, leaving 1-2 tablespoons behind. Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant (1 minute or less).
  7. Add the Ancho chile powder and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the stock, coffee, tomatoes, vinegar, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn off the burner. Submerge the shanks in the liquid, cover the pot, and place in the oven.
  8. Cook, turning the shanks a couple of times during braising, until the meat is tender and pulling away from the bone (about 2.5-3 hours). The shanks should cook at a low simmer, not a boil. Check the pot after 20 minutes and reduce heat to 300F if liquid is boiling.
  9. When the shanks are done, set them aside and cover. Remove the lid from the pot and continue cooking to reduce the sauce to your liking.
  10. To serve, place lamb shank on top of mashed potatoes and spoon sauce on top.
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