Get a Leg Up on Lamb (recipe)

By Robin Barr Sussman

Springtime means glorious weather, a fresh new bundle of produce and lamb. For those of you who are a bit sheepish about the best way to cook this sweetly fragrant, earthy-flavored "other red meat," here are three lamb recipes from local restaurants. Get cooking, chop chop!

Braised Lamb Shank "Osso Buco"

Recipe by Chef Danny Trace at Brennan's of Houston

The chefs at Brennan's have many lamb recipes up their toques, which are served according to the season and occasion. Here's a big, meaty lamb dish that incorporates bourbon, mint and orange for a bright finish.

4 lamb shanks

Creole seasoning to taste

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1 cup onion, medium dice

1/2 cup carrots, medium dice

1/2 cup celery, medium dice

6 garlic cloves

2 cups red wine

1 cup bourbon

1 cup tomatoes, diced (fresh or canned)

1 orange, sliced

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh oregano

3 bay leaves

8 sprigs mint leaves

6 cups lamb stock or water

1 tsp. granulated sugar

METHOD: Preheat oven to 325°. Season the lamb with Creole seasoning and rub well.

In a 12- or 14-inch cast-iron skillet add oil over medium heat and sear lamb on all sides. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Stir all together and cook until vegetables are caramelized. Deglaze with red wine and bourbon. Turn heat off. Add diced tomatoes, orange, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, 4 mint springs and stock. 

Cover with foil and place in a 325° over for 4 hours, or until meat is tender. Once meat is cooked, remove shanks from the pan and set aside on a large serving bowl or platter (covered to keep warm). 

Strain the remaining liquid from the pan into a saucepan and skim fat layer off of the top. Simmer over medium heat, skimming occasionally until liquid yields about 2 cups. Remove stems from the remaining mint and discard. Steep the mint leaves in the sauce just until wilted (about 45 seconds), then stir in sugar and strain into serving container. Plate each lamb shank and cover with a generous amount of the sauce. Serves 4.

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Springtime means glorious weather, a fresh new bundle of produce and lamb. For those of you who are a bit sheepish about the best way to cook this sweetly fragrant, earthy-flavored "other red meat," here are three lamb recipes from local restaurants. Get cooking, chop chop!

Author: Robin Barr Sussman