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Author Notes: This is a perfect slow cooking, take your time, cool Sunday afternoon dish. Rich lamb is complemented by a bright gremolata. We ate it with a side of lentils, but it would also be great over polenta or maybe egg noodles as well. —aargersi
Food52 Review: If you find yourself searching for the perfect Sunday dinner, look no further. This is A-mazing -- that is, amazingly elegant, delicious and complex. I used a leg of lamb to make this and it still turned out wonderfully. The sweet grapes really mellow out into the sauce and add a nice subtle tang to complement the onions. The meat falls off the bone after cooking in the oven for a few hours, and the wonderful gremolata adds complexity to this rich dish -- a touch of brightness and zing that you might not expect! And don't even get me started on how this made the house smell. Heaven. —stephanieRD
Serves 2 very hungry people and you will probably have leftovers
Lamb Shanks With Melted Grapes
- 2 hind lamb shanks (the bigger ones - you could use fore shanks but where's the fun in that?)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups halved seedless black grapes
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped pitted cured black olives
- 2 cups quartered and thinly sliced yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic, roughly chopped (2 large cloves)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 3-4 fresh bay leaves
- Heat the oven to 325°F. Heat a dutch oven to medium, and add the oil. Generously season the lamb all over with salt and pepper. Brown the shanks on every side -- you want nice brown shanks without and burning, this is why the heat stays at medium. Take your time and really get them gorgeously brown. When they are ready, remove them to a plate.
- Add the onions to the pot and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook the onions for a few minutes until they soften and just start to brown. Add the grapes and garlic, and cook for a few minutes more until they are soft. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, again scraping and bit up from the bottom of the pan. Now put the lamb shanks back in along with any juices. Cover and put the pot in the oven.
- Cook the shanks for an hour and a half, then turn them over so the exposed part is now submerged in that grape-y onion-y goodness. Back into the oven for at least another hour -- longer is not a bad thing though. The shanks will be incredibly tender and depending how long you cook them, they may fall right off the bone. I cooked for a total of two and a half hours.
- Remove the shanks to a plate and simmer the sauce uncovered for just a few more minutes to thicken. Serve each shank with a generous amount of melted grapes and sauce, and top with gremolata. Serve additional gremolata alongside.
- 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/8 cup lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (1 clove)
- 1/2 cup red grapes
- a pinch of salt
- Put all of the ingredients in a processor and pulse until it is roughly chopped -- keep some texture rather than going for a smooth paste. Alternately, you can chop it all by hand!