Guinness and Tomato Braised Lamb Shanks

As is often the case during the winter months, I do a lot of cooking on Sundays, maximizing my oven roasting time.  I'll prep food and roast, bake, braise broil whatever I can.  The oven is on, might as well use it to its fullest potential.  That means I "set it and forget it" cook, meaning once things are chopped, I can toss them onto a sheet pan, into a dutch oven or into a casserole; allowing me to do the stove top cooking next, boiling pasta or rice, sauteing vegetables or cooking up a pots of broccoli and string beans.

One pot meals are another favorite of mine.  I like to use my Crock Pots and Slow Cookers, but I usually brown the veg and meats before adding them to the electric slow cooker and that seems to be a waste of cooking effort.  It's far easier to chop up a bunch of root and aromatic vegetables, toss everything into my trusty old Le Crueset pot, pop it into the oven and let it all go for 2, 3 or 4 hours.

My braised lamb shanks in tomato sauce and dark beer is one of the easier and more flavorful one pot meals that I've made in a while.  The gaminess of the lamb, along with the many flavors from the dark beer I used made for  a tasty dinner.  I had posted this on my Facebook Page as note to accompany my photo.  However, there's always a story to my recipes so I thought it did deserve to be posted as a blog entry.  You can make this as a weekend meal, since you'll need a few hours of cooking time.  Or you can make it one night and serve it another.  The flavors will set and deepen when the sauce and meats rests.  Use a good dark beer- porter, stout, milk stout.  The darker the better.  I made this with 2 lamb shanks.  You can use up to 4 lamb shanks with the quantities given.  Increase it if making it in any larger quantities, by adding a few more onions, carrots, garlic, and celery or parsnips if you want for each additional lamb shank, bone, or shoulder cut.


Guinness Stout and Tomato Braised Lamb Shank Ingredients:

  • 2 Lamb Shanks - about 2 Pound Each - trimmed of excess fat and silver skin
  • 2 Large Carrots - Peeled and Cut into Large Chunks
  • 1 Large Onion - Cut into Large Dice
  • 2 Celery Stalks - Cut into Large Chunks
  • 3 Garlic Cloves - Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Each Dried Parsley, Thyme and Oregano
  • 1 16 ounce Can No-Salt Tomato Sauce
  • 1 12 ounce Bottle of Guinness Stout or other Dark/Porter Style Beer
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Dutch Oven or Oven Safe Pot with Tight Fitting Lid


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Clean and prep the vegetables, peeling, chopping, and dicing each vegetable as indicated.  Place them all in the Dutch Oven.  
  3. Clean the lamb shanks of excess fat and silver skin (you don't want too much fat, or else the dish will taste greasy.  The silver skin doesn't dissolve and is tough to eat) Make sure you leave the meat on the bone, so don't overly trim the lamb.  Add them to the pot, pushing the shanks down towards the bottom of the pot.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce, Guinness and water over the lamb and vegetables.  Add in the seasonings, and stir to incorporate.
  5. Cover the pot and place it into the pre-heated oven.  Cook for 3 hours, or until the lamb is tender and nearly falling off the bone and the sauce has reduced and thickened.  
  6. Allow the meat to rest for at least half an hour before serving, or cool completely, cover tightly and refrigerate.  Reheat thoroughly before serving.  Serves 2 to 3.  Will hold for up to 4 days refrigerated.  If freezing, take the meat off the bone, discarding the bone.  Will hold frozen for up to 2 months.  Serve over smashed or mashed potatoes, cous cous or rice.

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