Braised Lamb Shanks with Spiced Butternut Squash
I recently bought a pressure cooker, which has really opened a whole new world of cooking in half the time. Lamb shanks are amazingly rich and tender when braised, and have a wonderful flavor that will stand up well to robust seasonings. Don’t be intimidated by all the spices in the squash, I promise it will taste delicious!
1 large Shallot (about 8 ounces), peeled and very thinly sliced
6 Tablespoons ghee, divided (or just spoon it out of the jar as you go)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lamb shanks, about 1 1/2 pound each
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 medium onion, diced
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped (I pulled some out of my garden)
4-6 springs fresh thyme, tie to gether with kitchen twine if you can
1 cup robust red wine, I used Spanish Rioja (you can drink the rest of the wine as you cook)
2 cups beef stock, preferable homemade, but regular stock will work too
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2.) Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee in a large skillet/saute pan over medium heat. Cook the shallots, stirring frequently until they are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside
3.) While the shallots are sauting, cut up the squash cut side down and cover with foil on baking pan or wrap individually in foil and back for 45-60 minutes until squash is tender enough to pierce with a folk.
4.) In a 6-8 quart pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee and olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb shanks for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from plate and set aside.
5.) Reduce the heat to medium and cook the carrots and onions, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, wine, beef stock, salt and pepper. Add the rosemary and the thyme and return the lamb shanks and shallots to the pot.
6.) Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to decrease naturally.
7.) If you squash is soft enough to pierce with a fork, remove from oven and let cool.
8.) Carefully unlock and remove the lid from the pressure cooker and remove the lamb shanks. Using a fork, shred the meat away from the bones and discard the bones. Remove the thyme springs from the liquid in the pan and ladle enough of the sauce over the lamb to moisten it.
9.) By now your squash should be cool enough to scrap the flesh of the squash into a bowl or food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee, curry, cinnamon, ground cumin, paprika, ground cardamom, and cayenne pepper.
10.) Dive the squash up between 4 dinner plates and spoon the lamb, with extra sauce if desired, over the top and serve.
Note: If you prefer you can braise the lamb in a dutch oven on low heat for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.
Yields: 4 -6 Servings, depending on how much eat you like to eat. For me this would only make four servings.