Hot from the oven, reheated, or served at room temperature, braised lamb shanks sprinkled with a gremolata of chopped and seasoned black olives are the ideal main dish after a day of olive plucking, or office labor.
Servings: Serves 8
  • 1 whole head garlic , cut in half crosswise
  • 4 sprigs rosemary , chopped
  • 1/2 bunch thyme , chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 lamb shanks , trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil , or more as needed
  • 4 carrots , diced
  • 2 medium yellow onions , diced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock or 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth (plus enough water to total 4 cups)
  • 3-inch strip lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives , chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic , crushed with a garlic press or finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • Directions
    Preheat oven to 325°. Wrap garlic in a double layer of cheesecloth and tie with a string.

    In a large bowl, combine rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add lamb shanks and rub with herb mixture.

    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large (8-quart) Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 3 or 4 shanks and brown each on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to another bowl. Repeat with remaining shanks, adding more oil as needed.

    Skim excess fat from pan and discard. Reduce heat to medium and add carrots and onions. Cover and cook (stirring occasionally to scrape up browned bits) until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add wine; increase heat to high and boil uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add stock, garlic, and lemon peel. Add shanks and bring to a boil. Cover pan, transfer to oven, and bake 1 hour. Rearrange shanks so any exposed meat is immersed in broth. Bake shanks an additional 1 to 11/2 hours, or until meat is fork tender. Using tongs, transfer shanks to a platter; cover and keep warm.

    Skim excess fat from broth and discard. Unwrap garlic and remove cloves from skins with a small, sharp knife. Whisk garlic into broth and return to a boil. Remove vegetables; season with salt and pepper, and arrange on platter with lamb. Boil broth 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly thickened; pour over shanks.

    Combine all gremolata ingredients in a small bowl. Garnish lamb with it and serve.


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