Lamb shanks meet a bright trio of winter citrus — lemon, lime and orange — in this dish. The rich braising liquid that results from the slow cooking almost surpasses the lamb shanks themselves. If you want to stretch the recipe to serve six, shred the meat from the bones, divide among shallow bowls, and serve over rice, orzo or polenta, with the reduce juices drizzled over each serving.
Citrus-Braised Lamb Shanks
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 lamb shanks, about 1 lb. (500 g.) each
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 small sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) dry white wine
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) chicken broth
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
In a large, heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the shanks, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a platter and pour off the fat from the pot.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and place over medium-low heat. Add the carrot, onion and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, garlic and tomato paste. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, season with pepper, and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine, broth and lemon and lime zests and juices.
Return the shanks to the pot and bring the liquid to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook in the oven, turning the shanks every hour, until the meat is completely tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Transfer the shanks to a platter and keep warm in the oven.
Pour the juices from the pot into a large, heatproof measuring pitcher and let stand for 1 minute. The fat will rise to the top. Use a bulb baster to transfer the juices underneath the fat to a small saucepan. Simmer to reduce slightly. Stir in the orange zest and juice.
Drizzle the reduced juices over the lamb shanks and serve. Serves 4.