lamb shanks with polenta

  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Flour, for dredging
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh thyme
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 8 cups homemade (or low-sodium) beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups polenta (yellow corn grits)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium oven-safe pan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat.
  2. Pour flour onto a plate and season with salt and pepper. Add lamb, coating well, and shaking off excess. Add lamb to pot and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Lower pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions and carrots and cook until softened, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, rosemary, and thyme and cook for another minute. 
  4. Add tomatoes, wine, and stock and stir to combine. Return lamb to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and place in oven. Cook for 11/2 hours, until meat is tender and pulling away from bone. Uncover pot and cook for another 1/2 hour.
  5. During last 1/2 hour of cooking, start polenta. Place 5 cups water in a saucepan and place over medium heat. In another saucepan, add another 5 cups water with 1 teaspoon salt,remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and slowly add polenta, whisking to prevent lumps. Slowly add water from other saucepan, whisking constantly. Continue to cook until mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes, whisking often to prevent lumps. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Divide polenta among serving bowls, top each with a lamb shank and some sauce and serve immediately.

Serves 4.