Lamb Shanks with Oranges and Olives

We had great intentions for our Easter feast yesterday, preparing everything for a typical Neapolitan Easter table, a pastiera, a casatiello and lamb. Life then got the better of us, we failed to order the cooked wheat berries for the pastiera, making it ourselves was too much work and not close enough to the “real thing” according to my husband. We purchased the lard for the casatiello (yes, I now have a pound of lard in my pantry), but we decided to make it for another day. We didn’t abandon the lamb though, keeping at least one tradition on our table and giving me the opportunity to make a meat I have never cooked before.

I used a recipe from my Mario Batali cookbook, gravitating to a braised lamb with fruity flavors rather than a roasted or a grilled lamb. You can’t really mess braised meat up, all you need are delicious ingredients and patience. I love fruit and meat together, top that with olives and I am in heaven. It was truly delicious, the meat just falling off the bone, the sauce was sweet and tangy, though I toned it down a bit from his recipes, using only one onion instead of 2 and only 5 garlic cloves as opposed to 12. I’ve noticed that his recipes call for some big flavor and high temperatures which really isn’t my style, but easy enough to alter for my own tastes.

Lamb Shanks with Oranges and Olives

adapted from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano

  • 4 large meaty lamb shanks, rinsed and patted dry
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 navel orange, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup black olives, preferably gaeta, but I used kalamata because gaeta olives are unavailable here
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • zest of one navel orange

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Season the shanks liberally with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Reduce the heat and sear the shanks, turning occasionally, until dark golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions, garlic, and orange wedges to the pot and cook until the garlic is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, olives, wine, tomato sauce, and stock and bring to a boil.

Replace the lamb shanks in the pot and return to a boil. Cover tightly, place in the oven, and cook for 1 to 1.5 hours, until the meat is fork tender.

Allow the shanks to rest for 10 minutes in the sauce, then transfer to warmed plates, sprinkle with zest, and serve.

Two Years Ago: Black Bean Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana & Mediterranean Beet and Yogurt Salad

~ by italicious on April 25, 2011.

4 Responses to “Lamb Shanks with Oranges and Olives”

  1. You are correct. I didn’t stick to the recipe verbatim, but I figured I would publish Batali’s recipe as it was written in the book. The loins were delicious.

  2. Those look like lamb loin chops, not shanks.

  3. What a beautiful dish. I can’t wait to cook it this weekend. I don’t want to wait another year just for Easter. A nice combo of salty, sweet and meat. Yum.


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