I don’t really celebrate Easter or Passover or anything that’s going on this weekend, but if you do, enjoy the holiday. I do appreciate the candy and treats that come along with them, though. I can get down on some flourless chocolate cake and jelly beans any day. And it’s just a happy coincidence that I have this lamb recipe to share with you today. I made it this past Sunday while I was putzing around in the kitchen making the worst scones I’ve ever made in my life (they can’t all be winners) and watching episodes of Empire while Kramer did homework. I would have been more upset about the scones had this lamb not come out so perfectly. I based it on a rib recipe that I saw on Bon Appetit, but I didn’t have rhubarb or ribs so I modified it as such. I was also sent the maple syrup by Farm to the People, which has a ton of really cool small batch products and I’ll be announcing a fun partnership with them soon! For now, though, let’s focus on how simmering beets with sweet maple syrup and rich balsamic vinegar turns beets into something totally unlike anything I’ve ever had before. It was all I could do to stop picking beets out of the pot to snack on while the lamb finished cooking.
Always on the ‘gram.
And speaking of the lamb – it was perfect. I didn’t do much to it, just let it roast in the oven, covered in a little bacon fat, salt, pepper, cumin and just a hint of cinnamon. Once finished, I brushed it with some of the beet glaze, let it bubble, and plated it dramatically with the beets, Greek yogurt and mint. The yogurt added a nice, clean richness to the dish and the mint added a pop of freshness. Together, it was a pretty fancy looking dinner that really didn’t take much effort. I think Hannibal would approve of this dish, don’t you? I’m gearing up to eat more lamb this weekend while I work on a photo project at a friend’s restaurant, so it’s only appropriate that I make some myself beforehand. I hope you all have a great weekend, preferably with some lamb.
Your beautiful lamb shanks ready to go into the oven.
I always have a healthy amount of bacon fat in my fridge.
While your lamb cooks, make your beets.
Pour in your maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and water, then bring to a simmer and cook until tender.
Strain your beets from the liquid (if you let them sit too long, they will become far too sweet) and set aside until your lamb is ready.
Brush your shanks with your glaze, broil for a few minutes until bubbling, and plate.
I used a pastry brush to sprinkle extra glaze on the plate because I thought it looked kind of cool. I’m not wrong!
- 2 lamb shanks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon fat
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- pinch ground cinnamon
- ½ cup chicken stock, beer or wine
- 6 small beets (or 3 large ones)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup maple syrup
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- plain Greek yogurt, for serving
- fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped, for serving
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Rub your lamb shanks with your oil or fat, salt, cumin, pepper and cinnamon and nestle them in a pot with a lid. Pour ½ cup of stock, beer or wine into the bottom of the pot, cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours or so, until fork tender.
- While your lamb cooks, peel and cut your beets into 1-inch sized cubes. Place in a pot. Add in your water, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the beets are tender. Strain the liquid from the beets and reserve it for brushing on the lamb. You can warm the beets back up in the same pot when you're ready to serve, or serve them room temperature.
- When the lamb is ready, remove it from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Brush all sides generously with the maple and balsamic mixture, then place back in the oven, uncovered, for 3 minutes or so, until the glaze is bubbling. Place your shanks on a plate and brush with a little more glaze. Place a dollop or two of Greek yogurt on the plate, place your beets on top of the yogurt and sprinkle with fresh mint leaves and a little more glaze for presentation, if you like.