Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

November 9, 2009


Craving Comfort Food

I am in my glory with the beginning of cooler weather. It’s time to say goodbye to all those warm weather recipes and welcome time in the kitchen preparing stews, braises, roasts and lots of baking. I must admit that I use my outdoor grill all year long (hey, a cold evening here is only in the 50s!), but when time allows, I much prefer preparing dishes that take minimal time to put together, but hours of pleasure as you savor the aromas coming from your kitchen as these dishes cook away.

My head is swimming with ideas for things I want to cook and today I was happy to find lamb shanks at my local supermarket. I didn’t have time to drive all over town looking for these and had a back up plan if they weren’t readily available, but there they were-New Zealand lamb shanks. I knew I wanted Mediterranean flavors with a hint of the Middle East thrown in, and so this is what I came up with.

Braised Mediterranean Lamb Shanks

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 lamb shanks
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup green olives, pitted
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
6 canned plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
2 cardamom seeds, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2-14 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and add lamb shanks and brown-about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan, lower the heat to medium and add onions, carrots, celery, olives and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add wine and simmer until wine is reduced in half.

Add broth, tomatoes , cumin, coriander, allspice, cardamom, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and add lamb back to pot. Bring to a boil, cover pot and place in oven. Cook for 2 hours. Add beans and cook for another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with couscous or polenta. Serves: 4


5 thoughts on “Craving Comfort Food

  1. I’m in the same mode… made split pea with ham soup this weekend. I also made some carbonnares flamandes (beef stewed in Chimay beer and onions). I made some chipotle cheddar biscuits to go with the soup. I love using the oven as much as I want since I tend to lay off it when it’s 110 degrees outside.

  2. Osso Buco is my next big dish. I’m dying for it.

  3. I LOVE LAMB SHANKS. We had some a few weekends ago and not only was it heavenly to smell as they sat and stewed all afternoon, but inhaling them with some noodles was utterly delightful. This looks like a great recipe for them!

    • Elizabeth-these were good but I think next time I’d increase the amount of spices just a little bit. Have I seen you commenting on Annika’s blog? I always wondered about your blog!

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