Dec 9, 2019

Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Braised Lamb Shanks Over White Bean & Winter Greens Risotto

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 3 hrs
Braising is one of my favorite methods of cooking. I know this is a strong statement, but not only is braising practically foolproof, but the meat is so incredibly tender that you end up with a perfect serving sauce with tons of flavor and practically no additional effort!

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This post is sponsored by the American Lamb Board

Braising is one of my favorite methods of cooking. I know this is a strong statement, but not only is braising practically foolproof, but the meat is so incredibly tender that you end up with a perfect serving sauce with tons of flavor and practically no additional effort!

Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Braised Lamb Shanks Over White Bean & Winter Greens Risotto

About American Lamb

When buying lamb I always opt to buy American lamb. While working with the American Lamb Board over the past few years I have been able to travel to family run farms that produce lamb and then sell it throughout the country. I have been impressed because, not only is it great to support local, family-run businesses, but buying lamb close to the source means you are getting the freshest meat.

Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Braised Lamb Shanks Over White Bean & Winter Greens Risotto-8.jpg

Why You Should Braise Meat

Braising is the perfect method for cooking tougher, lean cuts of meat like lamb shanks with connective tissue. The shank comes from the lower part of the animal’s legs with more muscles that constantly work day after day. The low and slow method works to break down those tougher cuts and leave you with juicy and flavorful fork tender” meat while the bone-in presentation makes for impressive serving!

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • While this dish can easily be served for a hearty dinner on its own (along with a bottle of dry red wine), I also like to serve it alongside an arugula salad.
  • Fill the salad with some of winter’s best produce like roasted squash and then add warmed, sliced bread for holiday entertaining.
  • I recommend plating everyone’s entrée prior to sitting down to the table since the Dutch oven can be quite heavy to pass around! Arrange the salad and bread on the table as alongside some room-temperature butter for slathering.
Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Braised Lamb Shanks Over White Bean & Winter Greens Risotto recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Lamb Shanks

For the balsamic and caramelized onion braised lamb shanks:

  1. Heat oven. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. Season and sear the lamb. Pat the lamb shanks dry then season them all over with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the flour and set aside. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the lamb shanks (working in batches if necessary) and sear until golden brown all over, about 6 minutes total. Remove the lamb shanks to a plate, reserving as much oil in the pot as possible and return the Dutch oven to medium heat.
  3. Caramelize the onions. Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the onions and sauté until wilted and opaque. Turn heat down to reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are light brown and begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
  4. Return lamb to the pot. Add the balsamic vinegar then return the lamb shanks to the pot and pour in the beef stock and thyme.
  5. Braise the lamb. Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil then cover and move to the oven. Braise the lamb shanks, turning once, until fork tender, about 2 hours.

For the white bean and winter greens risotto:

  1. Cook the chard. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chard and sauté until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir, cooking until the rice is toasted, about 2 minutes.
  2. Make the risotto. Add the wine and cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup of the chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir constantly until all stock has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock ¼ cup at a time, stirring frequently, until all of the stock has been used and rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in Parmesan. Once the risotto is al dente remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese and the beans. Season to taste with salt then set aside and keep warm.

For serving:

  1. Assemble and serve. Divide the risotto among 4 warmed serving bowls. Top each with a lamb shank then spoon some of the sauce and onions over the top. Serve immediately.
Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Braised Lamb Shanks Over White Bean & Winter Greens Risotto-44.jpg

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Braised Lamb Shanks Over White Bean & Winter Greens Risotto-62.jpg

Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Braised Lamb Shanks Over White Bean & Winter Greens Risotto

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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs

Ingredients:

For the balsamic and caramelized onion braised lamb shanks:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 bone-in American lamb shanks
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme

For the white bean and winter greens risotto:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch red chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock, warmed
  • cup grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Instructions:

For the balsamic and caramelized onion braised lamb shanks:

  • Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  • Pat the lamb shanks dry then season them all over with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the flour and set aside. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the lamb shanks (working in batches if necessary) and sear until golden brown all over, about 6 minutes total. Remove the lamb shanks to a plate, reserving as much oil in the pot as possible and return the Dutch oven to medium heat.
  • Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the onions and sauté until wilted and opaque. Turn heat down to reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are light brown and begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar then return the lamb shanks to the pot and pour in the beef stock and thyme.
  • Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil then cover and move to the oven. Braise the lamb shanks, turning once, until fork tender, about 2 hours.

For the white bean and winter greens risotto:

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chard and sauté until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir, cooking until the rice is toasted, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the wine and cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup of the chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir constantly until all stock has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock ¼ cup at a time, stirring frequently, until all of the stock has been used and rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes. Once the risotto is al dente remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese and the beans. Season to taste with salt then set aside and keep warm.

For serving:

  • Divide the risotto among 4 warmed serving bowls. Top each with a lamb shank then spoon some of the sauce and onions over the top. Serve immediately.

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  1. This was absolutely divine. Made it for a new year’s day feast because it looked equal parts indulgent and delicious, and it was. Loved every bite. Thank you for sharing this recipe!