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Spring always makes me think of green pastures, brightly colored flowers, fresh produce, and Easter lamb. So to celebrate the end of Winter, I took a day trip to the Hudson Valley where there are dozens of amazing farms, antique stores, hiking trails, breweries, and views.
Well, the trip was met with mud and snow and mostly empty shelves, but I did return to NYC with some Hudson Whiskey and new plants! And I made friends with a few farm animals! I’d say that makes it a successful adventure. Have you ever been kissed by a cow? It’s quite the experience!
The recipe that follows is perfect for the transition from Winter into Spring.
Lamb has always been my go to for serving at Easter and this year I’m slow braising shanks in Tripel with orange zest until they’re tender and falling off of the bone. The floral, citrus, and bready notes, as well as the higher alcohol content, will lead to a subtly sweet and complex lamb jus. I’ll be serving them over a puree of roasted root vegetables, which are still plentiful at the market and provide additional depth to the warm flavors of the lamb. The key to the dish, though, is the citrus forward gremolata. It contributes a fresh, bright contrast to the heartiness of the lamb and root vegetables while the addition of orange zest ties it all together.
The result is a dish that’s warm enough to satisfy on cold April days while fresh citrus flavors welcome the onset of Spring.
Active Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes Makes 2 Servings
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 lamb shanks, approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each
2 tablespoons olive oil or rendered bacon fat
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
Zest and juice of 1 orange
12 ounces Tripel Belgian Style Ale
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Whisk together flour, salt, pepper, coriander, and cumin. Roll the lamb shanks in the flour mixture until thoroughly coated. Heat oil or fat in a dutch oven over moderately high heat then add the lamb shanks; cook on each side until a nicely browned crust forms. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and rosemary to the dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft. Stir in the thyme, orange zest, orange juice, and beer. Return the lamb shanks to the dutch oven add enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours or until very tender and falling off of the bone.
Transfer the cooked shanks to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Strain the liquid into a saucepan, discarding the solids. Cook the sauce over medium heat until reduced by a third, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, honey, and vinegar.
1 lemon, zested
Zest of 1/2 an orange
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Mix together all ingredients. Lightly season to taste with salt and pepper. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready for topping lamb shanks.