Pairs with J. Rickards Malbec
Adapted by Eliza Rickards from The New James Beard © 1981 by James Beard
A part of the lamb that is often overlooked, the ends of the legs are wonderfully flavorful and take well to long, slow cooking. Combined with white beans they are excellent eating, along with a glass of J. Rickards Malbec. Serves 6-8
3 15 oz. cans Great Northern or Cannellini beans
1 bay leaf
6 cloves garlic
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
3-4 meaty lamb shanks sawed in halves (butchers can do this)
1 tablespoon rosemary, crushed
5 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons oil
1 cup J. Rickards Malbec
1 ½ cups beef broth or water
2 large onions thinly sliced
6 thick slices bacon
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
While the original recipe calls for soaking and cooking dry beans, the beans stay much firmer in the final dish if you use canned beans. Yep. Open three cans of Cannellini beans, pour into a bowl with their liquid, add a clove of garlic, chopped, and a bay leaf. Allow to sit while you prepare the lamb.
Cut 2 garlic cloves into slivers, make incisions in the lamb shanks and stuff the garlic into them. Rub shanks with 2 teaspoons of rosemary and 2 teaspoons salt. Heat 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons oil in a deep heavy skillet or sauté pan. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides, turning with tongs and sprinkling with pepper as they cook. Add the remaining rosemary and the wine and broth or water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Sauté the sliced onions in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil until lightly browned. Cover and cook over low heat until soft. Set aside.
Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Put a layer of half the beans in an 8-quart braising pan or casserole and top with a layer of the onions and the remaining garlic cloves, finely chopped. Put the lamb shanks on top, and the remaining beans and the broth from the pan in which the shanks cooked, be sure to skim the excess fat. If there is not enough liquid to cover the shanks, add some of the reserved bean liquid and more water or wine. Lay the bacon slices on top and cook in a 350° oven for 1 hour. Melt the remaining butter, toss the bread crumbs in it, and sprinkle them over the top of the dish. Bake 20 minutes longer, or until crumbs are golden. Serve from the pan or casserole.