Lamb Shanks with Lemon and White Beans

This recipe combines two truly wonderful things – the farmer’s market and the crock pot.  For those of you who don’t care for lamb because you think it has a gamey taste, get a little from your local farmer’s market.  It’s leaner and less gamey that what I’ve gotten from the grocery store.  It still has a lovely lamb flavor though.  All hail Ault’s Family Farm for the lamb.  The price was really good and the quality even better!

Now, this recipe was designed to be cooked in a dutch oven on top of the stove.  I do a fair amount of that kind of cooking in the winter, but not in the summer.  I used to say the same about the crock pot, but I’ve discovered the absolute joy of getting home from work on a summer day and having dinner already done!  That allows me to use the extra daylight hours for something besides cooking.  It’s beautiful.

If I’d had time I would have seared the lamb shanks before I put them in, but I had plans last night and had to be out early this morning so there was no time for that.  Ideally I’d say you should combine the two cooking methods.  Sear the lamb and remove it from the pan.   Saute the onions and carrots a little and then deglaze the pan with the wine.  Then add everything to the crock pot and let it cook all day.  But that’s not what I did.  I did all my chopping last night and put it in a zip lock in the fridge.  I used diced celery instead of celery seed.  I just don’t like celery seed.  Of course, homemade chicken stock.  I put everything in the crock pot this morning and set it for 8 hours on low.

I was too hungry to fish out half of the white beans and puree them tonight, but I’ll do that before I put it away so the leftovers will have a creamier texture.  Still, it’s darn good even skipping that step.  I squeezed a little fresh lemon juice on it just before serving.  If I was serving it to company I’d probably grate a touch of lemon zest of top for a little something extra.

As always, the recipe below has been altered from the original to reflect my changes.  You can always click on the recipe title to see the original.

Good? Yes.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? Yep. Serve it with a nice leafy salad.
Special shopping? Recommend that you get your lamb from a local farmer!

Ingredients

  • 4  (12-ounce) lamb shanks, trimmed
  • 2  cups  chopped onion
  • 2  cups  (1-inch) cubed carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1  cup  dry white wine
  • 1  tablespoon  grated lemon rind
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1  (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

Put all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Set on low and cook for 6-8 hours.

Combine juice and 1 cup beans in a small bowl; mash with a fork until pastelike. Add juice mixture and remaining beans to pan; stir well to combine. Add lamb mixture; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

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