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browning lamb shanks

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Most lamb shank recipes tell you to trim excess fat & brown in a little oil in a skillet or dutch oven.

I've fixed lamb shanks quite a few times & generally they've turned out great, but I had some in a restaurant a while ago, & it was browned SO much better than I've ever been able to achieve.

Anyone know the trick? Are you supposed to trim all the muscle-sheath membrane? It sure doesn't brown well, but it's sure a pain to trim...
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #2 of 10
How do you cook your shanks?

When I prepared them in restaurants, this is how I did it.

Basically, the shanks came already trimmed so I didn't have to butcher much. There was basically the bone, the meat, and then a thin layer of membrane. If all that membrane is removed, the meat will all fall apart, which is fine for home, but not in a restaurant since presentation is important. I'd even tie strings around them to keep the meat on the bones.

Heating up a cast iron skillet, I would season the shanks, sprinkle Wondra flour, shake off the excess and then sear them off (in oil, obviously, blended or vegetable) on every side until darkish golden brown. Be careful not to burn, since flour burns easily and quickly. Burning will ruin everything....

Remove the shanks, add mirepoix and caramelize that. Deglaze with red wine. Place everything together in a rondeau, cover shanks with half chicken stock and veal stock, add a sachet, and then braise in the oven for a couple of hours until the meat is tender. Remove the shanks, strain the liquid, discard the vegetables, and keep the shanks stored in the liquid which can be reduced to sauce consistency.

Don't know if this is what you were looking for. Hope it helps.
post #3 of 10
I trim any excess fat (no need to remove the thin membrane) and then in a heavy skillet, sear the shanks on high heat in olive oil turning them over to ensure that they are evenly browned. Take care that you do not burn the shanks in the process. Then proceed as per recipe.
post #4 of 10
I like to rub them with a bit of olive oil and roast them in a 425 degree oven until deep golden brown. IMHO, this process tends to deepen the richness of the flavor
My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
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My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
I browned them in enameled cast iron, deglazed with dry sherry, put them in my new slow cooker with my chinese red-cooking sauce, and made a reduction sauce from the red-cooking sauce afterward. Terrific.

Needless to say if you cook something in soy sauce the exterior WILL BE BROWN, and they were, but that is not the same as browned. I think I'll try the oven next time - though that leaves one fond-less. Though there wasn't a heck of a lot of fond in the pan anyway...

Someday I'm going to sear them over charcoal before braising them. Anyone tried that?
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
Reply
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
Reply
post #6 of 10

shank substitutions

HELP! Ive got this great menu planned but went to the store and there are NO lamb shanks!! (Lamb is not a popular item in our part of the south.) This recipe calls for braising it in red wine. Any ideas?
post #7 of 10
short ribs, pork shanks, veal shanks
post #8 of 10
Thanks. I didn't think of short ribs. They would make a nice substitute. Appreciate the help!
post #9 of 10
I like to brown my shanks after they are finished braising (as well as initially)
I think this really makes a big difference. There are various ways you can do this , but probably the easiest way is once they are fully cooked , let the braising liquid reduce so about 1/4 to 1/3 of each shank is above the liquid level .Place them in the oven (if not there already ). Turn it up and if you have one use a broiler/top element. Brown the top surfaces and then serve with the remaining liquid as a sauce.
post #10 of 10

Make sure they're dry

Make sure the shanks are very, very dry before browning. Any surface moisture at all will turn to steam & prevent with browning. Dredging in flour can help but as was mentioned above can burn if you're not careful.
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