I had great plans for these four lamb shanks I had defrosted from our Five Marys farm box for the weekend. I had made this recipe before from Williams Sonoma and it was delicious. When it came time to assemble everything on Saturday though I realized I didn’t have any tomatoes or a can of tomato paste like I thought (because I had used it) and Scarlet was apparently suffering from a beta-carotene deficiency because she had eaten ALL the carrots! Hmmmmm…. When in doubt (and you live far from any stores and this is the only option for dinner) substitute! I learned that from my mom, I don’t think she’s ever followed a recipe in full. So looking around my cabinets I came up with red pepper and tomato soup. I always buy a bunch of this to go with grilled cheese sandwiches. Perfect!
I chopped up an onion and put it in the slow cooker, added three cups of the soup and one cup chicken stock. I seasoned the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, heat a cast iron skillet on high and seared the shanks in a little olive oil for five minutes total. Turning to brown all sides.
Into the slow cooker they went! Then came the fun part, I poured a cup of red wine into the still hot skillet, took a minute to inhale the heavenly wine and lamb aroma, scraped up the little brown bits and poured it all over the lamb shanks in the slow cooker. Topped with a little thyme and bay leaves and left to do magic on high for 6 hours.
My favorite part about slow cooking is the way your kitchen smells all day. And the smell of this lamb is SO intoxicating! With 45 minutes to go I got started on some mashed potatoes and when the slow cooker was finished, dinner was ready!
Big mound of mashed potatoes in the middle of the plate, a lamb shank on the potatoes, and the sauce ladled over the shank and around the potatoes to make a little island of greatness.
Time to test my use what you have substitution and it was amazing! Dare I say better than the original version! And definitely easier. Dan loved it so much he said it was better than any restaurant he’s been to. He then retracted to say better than 75% of restaurants he’s been to, but that I shouldn’t feel badly since he’s eaten at really amazing places on his business travels… Not sure how I feel about that… Thanks honey? Anyhow it was a delicious, special meal that couldn’t have been simpler to prepare. Maybe not quite as good as a meal at The Spice Route in New Delhi but I guess I can accept that… Before our family took up a whole row on the airplane and the kids were of the age of required schooling, we used to go on these trips with him. Maybe it’s time to get back out there!
And since the kids were recovering from various illnesses and opted to have chicken noodle soup that evening I had two shanks leftover. I always love finding a way to repurpose leftovers. And of course we had a ton of eggs (now including duck eggs, just look how huge they are!) from the poultry mansion so Sunday brunch was a lamb and leek frittata.
I preheated the oven to 350, whisked a dozen eggs with a half cup of sour cream, chopped up the leftover lamb and thinly sliced two leeks. In a hot cast iron skillet I sautéed the leeks, added in the lamb, and poured the egg mixture over the top. Seasoned with a little salt and pepper and into the oven for 15 minutes. I grated some sharp white cheddar cheese and spread it on top of the frittata after 15 minutes and placed it back in the oven for 5 more minutes. When the time was up it was just a little loose in the middle which is perfect since it continues to cook in the hot pan for a while. Put aside to set and cool slightly and brunch was ready!
And EVERYBODY ate it, while watching the Giants beat the Dodgers. What a lovely Sunday afternoon. I’m happy to have for one inevitably short moment six healthy household members! And GO GIANTS!
Lamb shanks enjoyed twice!
Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks
Total time 6 hours, 30 minutes
4 lamb shanks
1 chopped onion
3c tomato and red pepper soup
1c chicken stock
2T olive oil
1c red wine
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
Bring the lamb shanks out of the fridge to temper for 30 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
Place the chopped onion, soup, stock in the bowl of a slow cooker.
Heat a cast iron skillet until it is smoking, add the olive oil and brown the lamb shanks on all side for about 5 minutes total.
Place the shanks into the slow cooker.
Pour the cup of red wine into the hot skillet to deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Pour over the shanks in the slow cooker.
Top with the thyme and bay leaves and cook on high for 6 hours.
Serve lamb shanks over mashed potatoes, polenta or buttered egg noodles and the ladle sauce over the top.
A great recipe for leftover lamb
Total time 35 minutes.
1/2c sour cream
2 leeks thinly sliced
1c chopped cooked lamb
1c sharp white cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk the eggs and sour cream together.
Heat a 10′ cast iron skillet on the stove, add in olive oil and sauté the leeks until soft. Remove from heat.
Add in the cooked lamb.
Pour the egg mixture over the top and season with salt and pepper.
Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
Top with cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes. Frittata will be set around the edges and slightly loose in the middle but will firm up as it cools.