Recipe Match for Rioja

Braised Lamb Shanks and Lentil Stew

  • 4 lamb shanks (3/4 to 1 pound each)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, diced (approximately 2 cups)
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 16-ounce package of lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup red wine (preferably the wine served with dinner)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (water can be substituted for part or all)
  • 3 or 4 sprigs thyme, plus picked thyme leaves for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Season lamb shanks well with salt and pepper. Heat a generous amount of cooking oil—enough to cover the bottom of the pot with more than just a film—in a large Dutch oven, pot or braising pan. Sear the lamb shanks over medium-high heat until browned on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Set seared shanks aside.

3. Deglaze the pot with a little wine, stock or water, making sure to scrape up the browned bits. Reduce heat to medium and add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot; sweat until tender, approximately 10 minutes.

4. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the lentils and toss well to combine. Cover the lentils with the wine and stock (or water), season with salt and pepper, and then add the sprigs of thyme; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

5. Return the lamb shanks to the pot, making sure they are submerged about two-thirds of the way into the lentils and liquid, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Braise in the oven for about 90 minutes, or until the lamb is very tender. Uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. The lamb should be very tender and starting to pull away from the bone, and the lentils should be saucy and fairly soft.

6. Remove the pot from the oven, discard the used thyme sprigs, and season the lentils to taste. (Note: For a more stewlike texture for the lentils, add more stock or water until the desired consistency is reached.) Garnish the lentils with additional thyme leaves. Serve lamb shanks hot with the lentils. Serves 4 to 6.

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