Braised lamb shanks

I was at Stop & Shop with Ma yesterday and saw lambshanks, inexpensive, and imported from Australia. But when I got them home, they smelled “off”, despite their shelf date of January 31, and when I started browning them today, the stench grew pronounced. My menu was set in my head, however, so those suckers went out to freeze on the front porch (I’ll return them tomorrow for a refund) and I went to ShopeRite to procure new ones.These are American (and cost twice as much, which is why I prefer the Aussie’s, generally), but were bright pink and smelled sweet.

They’re slowly cooking as I write, in a broth of chicken stock, white wine, a couple of anchovy filets. salt, pepper, mushrooms, onions, garlic, lemon and mint. By dinnertime, they should be fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve them with garlic mashed potatoes and a salad, and life will be good. I’d make someone a wonderful husband, wouldn’t I?  After eight years off, I really should try dating again. : )


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17 responses to “Braised lamb shanks

  1. Anon1

    Christopher, will you marry me? Oh wait. What would I do with my sweet husband? Big Love TV show the female version, perhaps?

    You are a fabulous cook, still friends with Pal Nancy, smart as a whip, blessed with a great sense of humor and in love with your kids. You are a real mensch. You should start dating again!

  2. Walt

    Boy of Weasel –
    Don’t date. Waste of time. Just keep being a hump buddy with Ms. McBeal. Go the no strings attached route. But keep one eye open with her if she stays over. She may steal your clothes. Or kill the cat’s.

    Anyway, what exactly is a “shank”. It sounds like something prisoners use to kill one another. I don’t know what it is, but I know I don’t want to eat it.
    Shank this.

    Your Pal,

    • Walt, I hate to disturb your waking (wanking?) dreams, but I’ve never met Ms. McBeal, and she has a boyfriend. I’ve been divorced since 1998 or so, and, after a couple of wonderful realtionships, pretty much gave up on the scene in 2003, or thereabouts. But I know where you live so …

  3. Leatrice fountain

    Anon 1
    In addition to his other virtues, Chris is a good son to his aged mom.

  4. Walt

    Dudester –
    I know where I live too! But sometimes I forget. Oh well.
    And I think Ms. McBeal and her squeeze broke up. From what I can tell from the news reports. She has great fun bags, which can make you forget the crazy about her. But don’t. You know I am right.
    Pick up her and Steph – tell Steph to leave the creepy Mommy loving kid home. Something isn’t right there, but I still have a weak spot for Steph. Even though she finds Buddy Hackett doable. I still struggle with that.
    But I will get over it!!
    Your Pal,

  5. Lisa

    Usually American lamb is much better than Australian lamb……less muttony and much more tender. Worth the price difference.

  6. Jane

    I think you would make a great date. You are up on current events, like good food and are well versed in Greenwich speak. Get back out there! Can I fix you up?

  7. Tokenebozo

    Great recipe, but can I ask a dumb question; why the anchovies? Seems out of place. What do they do for the taste?

    • Tokeneke, I learned about anchovies and lamb some years ago in a recipe (NYT?) for butterflied leg of lamb. The little fish have some enzyme that really picks up the flavor of the meat, without imparting a fishy flavor. Worstchesthire suace inclues them, for instance. We’re talking 3-4 very thin fillets here, or less – not an entire bottle of the stinkies. Of course, I happen to like the taste of anchovies, but that’s in salads.

  8. Anonymous

    As I keep telling you, CF, buy your meat at a butcher shop, not at a supermarket, There’s only one butcher shop that I know of in Greenwich, but I prefer Crisfield’s Prime Meats on Purchase Street in Rye, just a short jaunt from here. They are the real deal, an old-fashioned meat store that does everything right and would never sell you stinky Aussie lamb shanks.

  9. FlyAngler

    Chris – From my favorite cooking publication “Cooks Illustrated” you have the following explanation of the role of anchovies in meat dishes.

    “To boost meaty flavor in food, we often add ingredients high in glutamate. This common amino acid is the building block for MSG and occurs naturally in foods from mushrooms to cheese, tomatoes, and fish. Thus it wasn’t exactly a surprise that the addition of two such glutamate-rich ingredients—tomato paste and salt pork—to our beef stew intensified its savory taste. But when we added a third glutamate-packed ingredient, anchovies, the beefy flavor seemed to increase exponentially. Evidence published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explains why: Besides glutamate, anchovies contain the compound inosinate. Scientists have found inosinate has a synergistic effect on glutamate, heightening its meaty taste by up to fifteenfold. ”

    Also, I believe in the preparation of Worcestershire sauce, the anchovies are either fermented in advance or the whole concoction is fermented somewhere along the process. It is one of the reasons you can not replicate Worcestershire sauce at home.

  10. JRH

    Anchovies are full of what the Japanese call umami — the sixth flavor. They impart a ton of savory flavor into the dish and contribute to the really rich taste. Yum.

  11. Georgie in Greenwich

    I agree with Jane….you should take her up on the offer. There are many ladies who would love to meet up and enjoy your sense of humor, intelligence, love of food and conversation, your ability to say you are wrong or sorry if need be…and, oh, remembering pictures of you from the past (GPost), you are a handsome man—with a nice head of hair. Not that there is anything wrong with baldness, men!

  12. Tokenebozo

    Thanks to all on the anchovy question. I gotta give it a try.

  13. peeps

    If your male, genuinely single and have a pulse, you should have no trouble finding a nice lady. Things are pretty bleak for us lately.

    Go, have fun, and just like with your high school reunion, remember that half the fun is reporting to us!

    • Peeps, it’s tough hauling oneself out of the closet (so to speak) after all these years, but maybe this summer. I do know that I’m on good terms with both Pal Nancy and two girl friends afterwards, so I don’t think I’m irredeemable, just getting old, cranky and set in my ways. Time to loosen up, no doubt.