Braised Lamb Shanks with Cannelloni Beans
4 lamb shanks
1 1/2 cup dried small white, white kidney, navy or cannelloni beans (best to soak overnight if possible)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or through garlic press
1 1/2 cups Bordeaux, Cabernet or other full-bodied red wine
2 cups low–sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 Tbs of fresh chopped parsley
Sprigs of fresh parsley for garnish
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon slices
- In advance, pick through beans and remove any stones or unsuitable beans. Rinse and place in a bowl; add water to cover generously. Let stand for about 3 hours or overnight if possible.
- Pat shanks dry and generously season them with salt and pepper. Place a deep, heavy roasting pan or stockpot over medium heat, heat pan and then add olive oil*. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides, about 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer the shanks to a plate.
- Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pan and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic halfway through. Season with salt and pepper. Next, add wine, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary and lamb shanks. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the shanks can be easily pierced, about 2 hours. (You may at this point also place all contents into a slow cooker and finish cooking according to slow cooker method.)
- Meanwhile, drain the beans and place in a saucepan and generously cover with water by at least 2 inches. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered until nearly tender, keeping them a bit al dente, approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Add beans to shanks, stir and simmer gently. If the liquid in the pot is too thin, simmer without the cover. If the liquid is just right, simmer with the cover on. If there is not enough liquid left in the pan, add chicken broth as needed, cover and continue to cook until the lamb begins to fall from the bone and the beans are tender, about 30 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary sprigs and discard. Stir in fresh chopped parsley.
- Transfer the lamb shanks and beans to individual plates or shallow bowls and garnish with fresh parsley sprigs and a slice of lemon. Serve and enjoy.
*Tip: Heat pan first and then add oil. Allow oil to reach temperature before placing meat in pan. This process will turn your pan almost into a non-stick pan and help prevent sticking.