Braised Lamb Shanks, Spring vegetables with Green Pesto and Polenta


Courtesy of Chef Matt Taylor, BC Tavern
Photography by Jody Horton

Fairly difficult

Braised Lamb Shanks, Spring vegetables with Green Pesto and Polenta


For 4 Person(s)


  • For the shanks:
  • 2 local, pasture-raised lamb shanks
  • 1 Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 carrots, large dice
  • 1 onion, large dice
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cups white wine
  • 8 cups veal or chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 parsley stems
  • For the vegetables:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pinches salt
  • 1 pinches sugar
  • 1 bunch turnips, trimmed and tops reserved for pesto (see below)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 bunch baby carrots, peeled and greens removed
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • For pesto:
  • 1 Reserved turnip tops (see above)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cups Parmesan
  • 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cups mint leaves
  • 1 Canola oil
  • 1 Salt, to taste
  • For polenta:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 cups polenta
  • 1/2 cups Parmesan
  • 1 Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoons butter

Braised Lamb Shanks, Spring vegetables with Green Pesto and Polenta Directions

  1. For the shanks:
    Preheat the oven to 325°. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the shanks all over and set aside in a roasting pan.
  2. Discard the excess fat, add the carrots, onion and garlic and lightly caramelize. Add the wine to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add the stock and herbs, bring to a boil then pour over the shanks in the roasting pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 5 hours.
  3. The lamb is done when it’s tender, but still attached to the bone. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then pick the meat off of the bone. Strain the liquid into a pot and add the meat. Simmer to reduce the liquid and warm the meat through.
  4. For the vegetables:
    In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the salt and sugar. Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and covering the ice with water. Add the turnips to the boiling water and simmer until tender, then remove (reserving the turnip stock) and plunge them into the ice water to cool.
  5. Once chilled, remove and quarter the turnips. Add the turnip stock to a sauté pan with the shallot and carrots and bring to a simmer. Add the green onions when the carrots are almost tender and cook until both are tender. Add the turnips, kale, olive oil and butter. Cover and cook until the kale is wilted and the liquid has glazed the vegetables, about 5 minutes.
  6. For the pesto:
    Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice-water bath. Add the turnip tops to the boiling water and blanch for 10 seconds, then plunge them into the ice water. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Chop the greens and add to a blender with the garlic, Parmesan and herbs. Turn on the blender and slowly add the oil until a thick paste is formed. Season with salt.
  7. For the polenta:
    In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and half-and-half to a boil. Add the peppers and polenta and whisk until creamy. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer until the polenta is thick and no longer grainy. Add the cheese, salt, pepper and butter. Stir until the cheese is melted.
  8. Assemble and serve.

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