If you’re hosting an intimate gathering this year, this is the recipe you need.
Small gatherings are filled with the best conversations. Pour a glass of wine and just enjoy the company.
BRAISED POMEGRANATE LAMB SHANKS WITH FENNEL
- 6 American Lamb shanks, 1 pound each
- salt and ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 large onions, cut into wedges, or 2 pounds pearl onions (in the freezer section of your grocery store)
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- 5 rosemary sprigs or 3 bay leaves
- One 750-milliliter bottle ruby port
- 3 cups chicken or beef stock
- 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice the top inch of the meat down, releasing it from the bone. Generously salt and pepper the lamb shanks on all sides.
- Heat oil in an extra-large, heavy-bottom Dutch oven. Working in batches, brown the shanks on all sides over medium-high heat. Take your time and do this well. Set the shanks aside.
- Lower heat to medium, add onions, garlic, fennel bulbs, and herbs to the same pan. Add port and stock, scraping up the browned bits and bring to a simmer. Place the shanks back in the liquid, meaty side down, bring to a boil, cover well, and place the Dutch oven, covered, in a 350°F for 1.5 hours.
- In a small pot, reduce the pomegranate juice by half, simmering on medium heat, uncovered until it reduces to down to 1 cup, about 20 minutes. When shanks are tender, add 1 cup of the strained shanks cooking liquid to the remaining pomegranate juice. Plate the shanks and drizzle a little pomegranate sauce over the top, garnishing with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Tip: This dish pairs really well with a soft, creamy, Parmesan polenta. The shanks can be cooked ahead, refrigerated in the cooking liquid, then reheated, as well as the sauce.
Recipe and photograph courtesy The American Lamb Board