Braised American Lamb Shanks with Creamy Polenta
- 4 1/2 pounds American lamb shanks
- Kosher salt, as needed
- Olive oil, as needed
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 pound Roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 4 sprigs oregano
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup white or yellow cornmeal
- 8 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Season the American lamb shanks with a generous pinch of salt on all sides. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Once hot, work in batches to sear the lamb shanks, about 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer the lamb to a plate.
- Add the shallot and onion to the pot. Sauté for about 6 minutes until beginning to caramelize, stirring often.
- Add the garlic, fennel seeds, and a pinch of salt. Stir well and cook for another minute or so. Add the carrots. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the Roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the red wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the beef broth, oregano, and rosemary.
- Add the lamb shanks to the liquid. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for 1½ hours.
- Remove the lid and continue to gently simmer for another hour, or until the lamb is fork tender and the sauce has reduced.
- To prepare polenta, add the water and a good pinch of salt to a small Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Pour in the cornmeal and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
- Stir in the Gouda cheese until melted. Add the butter, honey, and black pepper. Stir well until the butter has melted.
- Spoon the polenta into a shallow bowl. Place the lamb shanks on top of polenta and spoon a generous amount of the tomato sauce over top.
Source: The Original Dish & The American Lamb Board