Shanksgiving (or it’s more well known name in the superfoodies’ household: “lamb shank night”) is one of our most important celebrations. It is the first dinner I cooked for L not long after we had met. It also included beer cheddar soup to start, but the yearly tradition does not include that part as a standard. I also roasted garlic and made some spectacular mashed potatoes with it, but nope, also not mandatory, but you can see why he stuck around 😀 .
This year, we missed the date, then bought some shanks quite awhile later… and STILL didn’t get around to the concocting… so they chilled in our freezer… waiting for the call. Finally, we realized we just needed to get them out and get on it, or we’d be eating them on the proper date a year later (well, we would have purchased some fresh ones if we did wait that long… months of living in the Kenmore side-by-side would not make for an optimal taste experience)
Foraged around the still fairly new, and therefore rearranged (read: I still can’t find a damn thing), kitchen for the good old hard copy of the Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks recipe, and went to work.
I mostly follow the recipe quite accurately, and it turns out as we like it, but of course adjust it where you need to, or like. I used powdered thyme (feeling cheap about throwing out a mostly full package of fresh, since it won’t get used), but used fresh rosemary, even though I WILL throw most of that out, because dammit, it’s in the name of the recipe! I do however use less than is called for, as it can be a bit overpowering for us. Noticing the sauce was just a little thinner than we wanted this time, I did throw in a good teaspoon of potato starch to tighten it up and that did the trick.
The presentation was to be over a bed of boiled, mashed yuca/cassava, but as L started peeling, he realized it had gone bad, so we quickly cooked a packaged quinoa blend to substitute. Polenta would have been nice, but would have taken a bit too much thought for me to pull off.
All was rich, and flavourful, though the shanks were not quite as soft as I prefer them, but that is my only real criticism. Of course we paired dinner with a delicious bottle of red: one of our favourites: Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel. L loved everything!
A few things learned from this episode of lamb shank night: it is a bit of a production, so pick up some really nice shanks from the butcher, no more vacuum sealed freezer packs, verify before you start to cook that your side dish has not decided to go south, and for goodness sakes, don’t wait 8 months past the anniversary date to celebrate!
Hope this inspires you to have your very own Shanksgiving!