Wine Braised Lamb Shanks

“With a wine like CYRUS, I find the best pairings are usually with a fattier meat—one that is cooked low and slow to create fall-off-the-bone succulence. A fattier meat results in a finished product that can stand up to the bigger tannin structure of CYRUS because the long slow braise creates a rich, flavorful gravy that can match the depth and multitude of flavors in the wine.”
– Harry Wetzel, Head of Operations & Family Partner

– Serves 6 –

6 lamb shanks
1 tsp. rosemary, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 garlic head, cut in half crosswise
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
⅓ cup tomato paste
5 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tsp. thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
2 anchovy fillets
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
2 cups CYRUS
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups beef broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method of Preparation:
Combine the minced garlic cloves, rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl to create a paste. Place the lamb shanks in a Ziplock bag and add the paste mixture, then shake the bag vigorously to coat the meat. Chill and let the meat marinate for 4 to 24 hours (overnight is best).

Preheat the oven to 325˚.

Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Remove shanks from marinade and brown on all sides; you may have to do this in batches. Don’t salt the shanks as the anchovies and olives in the sauce provide most of the salt needed. Remove the shanks to a large roasting pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, reduce heat to medium and add carrot, onion and celery and stir frequently until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the halved garlic head, cut side down, tomato paste, anchovies, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, olives and peppercorns. Stir often to avoid burning for about 3 minutes. Add the wines and vinegar, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook for another 3 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Stir in the broth, water and sugar, then remove from heat.

Pour the braising liquid over the shanks in the roasting pan and cover the pan with foil. Place the pan in the heated oven and let cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil, turn the shanks over and continue cooking for another 2 hours, turning the shanks over every 30 minutes.

Turn off oven and remove shanks from the roasting pan to a cookie sheet and return to the oven to keep warm. Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid through a medium mesh sieve, but don’t use anything too fine or your sauce will be watery; you want to get some texture from the roasted veggies. Remove any excess grease. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the shanks over mashed potatoes, or perhaps a wild mushroom polenta, and top with the sauce.