Friday, January 2, 2009

Lamb Shank Stew with Russet Potato Top for Tyler Florence Fridays

You either love lamb or you don't.  I am a lamb lover, especially a good, falling off the bone lamb shank but I don't cook them at home very often. When I saw some some nice looking shanks at Safeway for a ridiculously good price, I had to throw them in my shopping basket. Upon closer inspection, I saw they were marked "pork shank" on the price label so I started to feel guilty and showed them to the meat guy who told me to take what I wanted because that was what the were marked and he would re-mark the rest.  Six lamb shanks later I had to decide what to do with them and was torn between a recipe from Bobby Flay and one from Tyler Florence.  Of course, with Tyler Florence Fridays looming on the horizon, Tyler's recipe for Lamb Shank Stew with Russet Potato Top from Stirring The Pot won out.

Tyler says:  "When braising lamb shanks, all of the collagen in the bones contributes to the braising liquid, and that means richness and deep flavor. Lamb stew takes advantage of this delicious gelatin, which changes the composition of the entire dish.  Give this recipe a shot on a cold snowy night."

Lamb Shank Stew with Russet Potato Top
Stirring the Pot, Tyler Florence
Serves 6-8  / Time 3 hours 25 minutes

1/4 cup all purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 lamb shanks (about 8 oz each), cut in half
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
2 whole cloves
1/4 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 750-milliliter bottle red wine
1 quart reduced-sodium beef broth
1 cup barley

Garlic-Parsley Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

6 large russet potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  For the stew, season flour with salt and pepper, then lightly dredge the shank pieces in flour.  In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven heat a 2-count of oil (about 2 tablespoons) over medium-high heat. Carefully add the shanks to the pot and brown all over.  Add garlic, carrots, onion, cloves, thyme, and bay leaf.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, browning the vegetables, then add the wine, broth, and barley. Cover and braise in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

For the Garlic-Parsley Butter, in a bowl combine butter with parsley and garlic; season with salt and pepper and stir to mix.  Set aside.

Peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthwise.  After the stew has been braising for 2 hours, remove from oven and arrange potatoes on top to completely cover the stew (you may have to cut some of the potato pieces smaller to fit).  

Place back in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes more.  Baste with Garlic-Parsley Butter; return to oven and bake for 30 minutes more, until the top crust is golden and bubbly.

Notes/Results:  I made this recipe as written with the exception being that my shanks were whole and not cut in half.  This doesn't make a big difference other than it is easier to maneuver the smaller pieces and it is a bit less photogenic with the whole shanks.  Overall, this recipe was just OK for me, it was good but not great. The lamb shanks were cooked well, very tender and the flavor was good.  The barley was a nice touch, and provided some starch so all that was needed was a salad and some crusty bread to mop up the liquid. Surprisingly it was the potatoes that I didn't like so much.  The garlic-parsley compound butter was a little bit of heaven and I would make it again for potatoes, noodles or bread but having the potatoes on top of the stew just made them kind of dried out.  The recipe says to cook them for 30 minutes, then baste with the butter and cook another 30 minutes; but the first 30 minutes dried them out.  If I make it again, I would probably omit the potatoes or just boil them, toss them with the parsley butter and serve them alongside the stew. This is a VERY hearty dish--I agree with Tyler that it would be best on a cold day.  So not a bad recipe, just not my favorite Tyler dish so far (HonestlyI was kind of wishing I had gone with Bobby Flay's shank recipe instead); but we learn by trying so I am glad I made it.  

You can check out the other Tyler Florence Friday bloggers and see what they created this week here at the TFF site.  If you are a Tyler fan or want to try some of his recipes, consider joining us on Fridays--details are on the TFF site.

Happy Weekend!


  1. Too bad it wasn't a winner for you - but I could tell the potatoes were going to dry out like that. But you are right - live and learn!

    David loves lamb shanks so I might have to give this a try, just noting your changes - thanks!!

  2. Sorry you didn't love it -- that had to be disappointing after the lamb shank coup at Safeway! It looks like a hearty and beautiful dish. Happy New Year, Deb -- I enjoyed reading about your fabulous creations in 2008, and am looking forward to more in '09!

  3. The dish looks magnificent, though I only eat veal shanks, not lamb. Too bad about the potatoes. I like the addition of the barley. I have an osso boco recipe I'm dying to try, but can't find veal shanks easily.

    p.s. I don't really hate you, Debbi, just envy your gorgeous weather; we have MORE snow today

  4. What was a good price for lamb shanks in Hawaii? My husband would love something like this, and I'll keep the dried out potatoes in mind.

  5. Sorry it wasn't your favourite, it does look very tasty.
    I haven't made anything like it, definitely looks like a hearty winter dish.
    And crusty bread.. everything is better with crusty bread!

  6. Megan--yeah, I had this feeling too as i was putting them in the oven the first time. I would do it on the side for sure--you also don't get melted butter in your sauce that way too.

    Cathy--thanks! I love reading your blog too and look forward to more!

    Arlene--it was cooler, drab and rainy today if that helps! ;-)

    Madam Chow--I can't remember the exact price per pound but the three packages were about $4.00ish apiece and normally they are around $9.00ish. So 6 shanks cost about $13.00.

    Natashya--yep you can't you wrong with crusty bread and it wasn't bad just not the best thing I have made. ;-)

  7. Hi Deb. I am glad to find and make new friends through BloggerAid. We don't eat lamb often in my house but would you believe that yesterday I made a similar recipe based on a Moroccan lamb recipe I found on the internet. Instead of red wine, I added white wine and I added more spices but it was delicious so I can imagine how yours was. I love your potatoes as well. You are soooo lucky to be living in such a beautiful place.

  8. I've corrected supermarket marking the wrong price and have had to pay the higher price for the item in Japan :( Now, I keep quiet if they charge me less and say something if it is more...sigh.

  9. We don't cook lamb very often, and I don't like the taste of it left over, but there's nothing like good lamb hot off the press so to speak. This dish looks good, and you've got a great idea with the potatoes on the side. That parsley-garlic butter does sound divine! Great post; sorry it was a disappointment (at least you didn't make it with the full price lamb shanks!!)

  10. Deb, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Did you have a wonderful (and tropical) holiday? I bet you did. I love Tyler. He's such a cutie. You just want to snuggle up with him and have him make you some soup or something. :)
    May all your wishes come true in 2009. Hugs.

  11. I'm sorry it didn't turn out like you hoped. It really does look delicious, though!

  12. Ivy--So nice to meet you too. Can't wait to see your lamb dish when you post it.

    Kat--I was surprised he let me have them too! I don't blame you for not speaking up.

    Nancy--I think having the potatoes on the side really solves the issue--the flavor was pretty good. But you are right, easier to deal when it's 1/2 price! ;-)

    Teresa--thanks and happy New Year to you too!

    Reeni--Thanks! It was not quite what I was looking for but it was still pretty good.


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