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Roasted Lamb Shanks Over Olives and Cannellini Beans

Slow roasting and braising meats is one of my favorite things to do during the colder months — literally warming the house with heat and wonderful aromas. This dish can be served in two different ways, adding beans to the bottom of the plate and laying a shank on top, which makes for quite an elegant dinner; or you can cut the meat off of the bone and serve it as a lamb stew, being sure to add a big slice of crusty bread to sop up all the amazing flavors. No matter how you decide to serve this dish, pair it with a bold, fruit-forward Syrah to bring out the full body of the meal.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 4 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each (please note, only 2 shanks were cooked in the photos)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs rosemary and thyme
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup each green and black olives, sliced
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-32 ounce can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes

Heat olive oil in a heavy ovenproof cast or enamel pan. Sprinkle shanks generously with salt and pepper.  Add the lamb shanks, garlic, lemon, rosemary and thyme to the hot pan.

Turn the shanks several times allowing the skin to brown and crisp. Remove the shanks, lemon and herbs from the pan.

Add the onions and cook over medium heat until soft about 5-7 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the pan and turn heat to high, scraping up any small bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the cannellini beans, olives and tomatoes to the pan and stir, reducing heat to medium. Heat this mixture until hot but not boiling. Preheat the oven to 280°.

Return the shanks, lemon and herbs with any accumulated juices back into the pot. The shanks can be nestled into the mixture but do not have to be covered. Cover pan and place in the oven for 2 hours, turning your pan half way through.

You will notice when you remove the shanks they have cooked down and make for a nice presentation with the exposed bone extending out from the meat.

At this point, you can strip meat from the bones to serve as a stew or place bone-in shanks atop the beans and olives.

Serve hot and enjoy the warming combination of flavors this one-pot meal delivers.