Roasted Lamb Shanks, with Brown Butter Asparagus and New Potatoes, and Red Wine Sauce

Lamb is one of the most under-rated meats around. Although
it suffers a bad reputation as being a fatty meat, it is actually much leaner
than most people would think. An average 3-oz serving of lamb is only 176
calories, and is packed full of nutrients such as riboflavin, iron, vitamin
B12, zinc and niacin. A 3-oz serving of lamb also contains about 43% of the
recommended daily intake of protein. Therefore, it is an excellent alternative
to chicken and fish. I love lamb, because of its ability to compliment a
variety of flavours and ingredients. It also can be cooked several ways, making
it a versatile protein for many different dishes.

Today I have a simple recipe using this fabulous protein-
Roasted lamb shanks, sided with brown butter asparagus and new potatoes. This
is a completely seasonal dish, bursting with the beautiful, fresh foods Ontario
has to offer. Asparagus is only in season for a short time longer, so we may as
well take advantage of its low price and excellent flavour while it is
available to us. This goes for the Ontario-grown new potatoes, as well; their
beautiful outer appearance and ability to absorb flavour makes them the perfect
starch to accompany this meal.

I begin by searing my lamb in a skillet, to develop the
flavour of the meat. It is then transferred to a 350F oven, to finish cooking
to medium-rare. The pan is then deglazed with a good-quality red wine, which is
reduced to use as a sauce for the meat at the end.

Although the asparagus and potatoes look and taste as if
they are difficult to make, they are actually very simple. Using brown butter
on asparagus (or any veg, for that matter!) is by far my favourite technique,
as it adds so much flavour and elegance to the vegetables. The asparagus comes
out flavourful, tender, and perfectly cooked, with very little effort or
cooking time needed. The potatoes are also extremely easy to prepare, and can
be par-boiled ahead of time if necessary. Simply cut them in halves, place in a
large pot filled with boiling salted water, and cook for 5-10 minutes until
they are tender. They are then finished with the asparagus in the brown butter,
and seasoned with salt and pepper. The end result is a starch and veg side that
is impressive, yet simple.

I hope you enjoy this
simple, elegant recipe. Try it the next time you are short on time and craving
a healthy, restaurant-quality dinner!

Roasted Lamb Shanks with Brown Butter Asparagus and New potatoes,
and Red Wine sauce

You will need:

2-4 lamb shanks

12 stalks of asparagus, ends trimmed

6-10 new potatoes, cut into halves

¼ cup red wine

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp butter

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Add
    potatoes, and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened. Drain, rinse with cold
    water, and set aside.
  3. Drizzle lamb shanks with a small amount of olive
    oil on each side, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sear
    lamb shanks for 1 minute per side. Immediately transfer lamb to a baking sheet
    lined with parchment paper.
  5. Deglaze the pan with red wine, and allow to
    reduce, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes, lower heat to medium low and
    continue to reduce another 15 minutes
  6. Place lamb in 350F oven for 10 minutes for
    medium-rare. Remove, and allow to rest.
  7. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil with
    butter over medium-high heat.  Sautee
    asparagus for about 10 minutes, until softened and coated with the browned
    butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper, remove from pan, and set aside.
  8. In the same pan, sautee cooked potatoes in the
    remaining browned butter for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Plate asparagus and potatoes with one to two
    lamb shanks on each plate. Pour red wine sauce over lamb. Serve immediately.
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