by Chef Jose Meirelles, Le Marais
8 lamb shanks, cleaned and tied
Vegetable oil as needed
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
½ cup of tomato paste
1 cup of potato starch
1 bottle of dry red wine
1 cheesecloth bag with the following spices: 1 kaffir lime leaf, ½ teaspoon cumin seed, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds, ½ of a cinnamon stick, ¼ teaspoon whole all spice, 3 whole cloves
1 cup of dried apricots
1 cup of dried figs, halved lengthwise
2 large pieces of celery root (celeriac)
1 lemon, halved
¼ pound of margarine
½ cup of clean flat leaf parsley leaves
To start the lamb shanks, season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat a large braising pan with a medium high flame and coat the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil.
Start browning the lamb shanks in the oil, turning each after attaining a rich brown color on each side of the shank. Once this is accomplished, remove the shank and put them aside.
In same pan with the leftover fat, add the onions, carrot and celery. Sauté the vegetables until softened and browned. Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and cook for about 3-4 minutes. This will remove the raw tomato paste flavor, and also increase its thickening power in the sauce.
At this point, you will then sprinkle the potato starch over the vegetable mixture. Let this cook into the mixture for another 2 minutes. Add the wine and mix in. The mixture should begin thicken immediately. Add the lamb shanks to the mix and then cover with water. Bring the entire vessel to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
You can then leave it on the stove top, covered, on a very low flame for about 3 hours. Or, you can put the entire pot into a 325 degree oven for 3 hours. Either way, it is done when the meat is very tender and can easily be pulled off the bone with a fork.
After they are cooked, remove the shanks and then reduce the sauce to your desired consistency. Strain the sauce, add the shanks back to the sauce. At this point, either serve or cool in the refrigerator for later use. Once properly cooled, they will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Place the figs and apricots into a dish and then cover them with boiling water. This will rehydrate them and will be our garnish on the lamb.
For the celery root, have a pot of salted water at the ready. Using a large knife, peel the celery root of all of the rough skin. Place the clean vegetable into cold water while cleaning the rest.
Cut the celery root into large cubes and then toss into the boiling water with the lemon. Cook until the celery root is soft, about 15 minutes. Remove the celery root from the boiling water. Purée in a food processor with the margarine, salt and white pepper until very smooth and silky.