"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Monday, March 16, 2009

Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans

Are you pissed off that it's still winter? Comfort yourself with this dish, and feel good that you're using a traditional spring ingredient in a classic winter preparation.

Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans and a glass or two of shiraz will get you through the butt end of this dreadful winter (unless you're a reader from a southern clime, in which case I say Curse You! (just kidding, what I really say is, Can I Come Live With You?))

If your only contact with lamb is lamb stew, or maybe the occasional lamb chop, go out on a limb and try this more unusual cut of meat. Yes, lamb shanks look like those big-ass smoked turkey drumstick things they sell at water parks. No, you do not eat them like that.

Lamb shanks require long, slow cooking, after which they agreeably become soft, and just fall away from the bone at the touch of a fork. Since the weather isn't agreeable, isn't nice to have food that is?

This particular recipe has four components--the lamb, the beans, the gremolata (that's Italian for ha ha, we have fancy garnish and you don't) and the finishing sauce. Don't get alarmed about the finishing sauce, it's not as complicated as it sounds.

In fact, the only thing about this recipe that might cause you pain is using an entire bottle of red wine to cook the lamb shanks, to which I say it's a worthy sacrifice and it doesn't have to be fancy.

And if you want to make this recipe go even faster (since it requires a lot of chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic) you might pull out your trusty food processor and pulse these things to a small dice--this will bring cut your active time so you can relax and give that shiraz a test run while the lamb and beans are cooking and you're watching your tivoed John Stewart.

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