Lamb Shanks with Five Heads of Garlic

lamb shanks (1 of 1)

I read somewhere, probably in a review of some cookbook or other, a criticism of the author for throwing garlic at everything. Risotto? Add some garlic. Vegetable soup? Garlic. Chocolate cake? Just kidding. Anyway, this review was meant as a critique of the book, as I remember, and to that I say: Pfshh. You can throw garlic at me anytime. If I thought there was any way garlic ice cream could possibly be good, I'd try it. I would.

Okay, so you know why this dish is awesome? Because not only is it really easy (aside from the time commitment you have to make to let it roast), but it also comes complete with the most delicious way to serve garlic known to man. Slow roasted in whole cloves which can be opened up and spread on crusty bread like butter. Garlic spread like butter. But a note of warning: I have actually eaten more than an entire head of garlic in this manner, and as a result could not participate in any exercise or yoga classes with other people for several days. Turns out, even cooked garlic can seep out of the skin. And no one likes smelling like garlic bread for days on end.

Lamb Shanks with Five Heads of Garlic
Adopted from Anya von Bremzen's The New Spanish Table

4 large lamb shanks, enough so that each will serve one person, about 1 1/4 pounds each
Salt and pepper to season the shanks
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 small carrots, cut into coins
5 small heads of garlic, 4 with the outer paper removed, 1 with the cloves separated, peeled and smashed
Olive oil
1 large fresh sprig of rosemary
1 1/2 cups of stock or broth, chicken or vegetable

Oven preheated to 475F. Season each shank well with salt and pepper on both sides. Use something like a dutch oven for this recipe, one large enough to hold all of the vegetables and the shanks snugly together. You should be able to cover the vessel tightly either with a lid or with a double layer of tin foil. Put the onions wedges, carrots and smashed garlic cloves in a layer on the bottom of the dutch oven. Season them with some salt, pepper and oil and toss together.

Brush the shanks with a bit of oil on each side, and them put them in one layer on top of the vegetables. They should be in a snug layer. Place the whole garlic cloves and the rosemary sprig between the lamb shanks, but high enough up so that they won't be covered when you add the stock. Brush the heads of a garlic with a little oil.

Put the dish, uncovered, in the oven. Roast for 25 minutes, then turn the shanks over, being careful to keep the garlic heads and rosemary from falling down to the vegetable layer. If at this point the vegetables are burning, you can add some water. Reduce the oven temperature to 425F and continue to cook uncovered for another 20 minutes.

At this point, add the wine and enough stock so that the liquid level is about halfway up the meet. The meet shouldn't be submerged completely, and the garlic heads should be held out of the liquid. Cover the dish, reduce the oven temperature to 325F and continue to bake for another 2 hours. The shanks should be very tender and easily pull away from the bone. Check a couple of times while it's cooking and add more stock if the liquid level gets too low.

You can serve the shanks the vegetables separately from the flavorful broth, or just plot the entire dutch oven on the table (on a hot pad of course) and let people spoon the juices over the meat on their plates. The heads of garlic will be well-roasted, and can be served up alongside the shanks and spread on slices of good, crusty bread.


Camille said…
Garlic ice cream CAN be good. I had some friends in culinary school who made it at every opportunity. It's not for everyone, but I liked it.
Anonymous said…
I have to second that. I had roasted garlic ice cream at this joint in Minneapolis called Sebastian Joe's, and I nearly died. It was probably the most amazing ice cream I've ever had.
Andrea said…
Imagine! Garlic ice cream. Thought I made it up. Something to keep my eye out for, that's for sure!
Unknown said…
I have always loved the way Lamb and garlic always seem to play together. I am going to have to try this. Although any and all Allium bring something good to Lamb.

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