Stinco di Agnello con Carciofi (Lamb Shanks with Artichokes)

I don't think I have ever seen such small Lamb shanks in any market in Memphis, TN.  As you all know, I have to drive at least 85 miles sometimes in a quest for something different.  I don't think a Mississippian would ever have had a Lamb shank on their dinner table or know how to cook one.  As an Italian girl, growing up in New York, it was a staple in our kitchen, especially around the Spring time.    I came across some large Globe artichokes  locally and thought, what an interesting combination of flavors.  Why
not give it a try. 
This recipe served 2.
The general rule is an artichoke and shank per person.

Ingredients:  2 large, globe artichokes, cleaned and quartered, in a bowl of lemon water and set aside
2 lamb shanks  (about 2 pounds or so)
1/2 large sweet Italian red onion sliced thin
(you can substitute 1/4 Spanish onion sliced thin)
2 cloves garlic diced (about teaspoon and 1/)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of black pepper
1 cup of white wine
approx. 8 cups of Artichoke water (The water you will use to boil your artichokes)
1/3 cup minced parsley
optional fresh mint for garnish
Clean your artichokes by peeling away the hard outer parts until you see an uniformed light green, yellowish color.  Remove the spiny end and split in half.  Clean at the choke and split.

  Place quickly in lemon water until the rest of your artichokes are cleaned.  Meantime, add about 4 quarts of water to a pot with a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic and bring to a boil.  Add your cleaned, cut artichokes and bring to a boil.  Boil for approximately 15 minutes and drain, reserving your water. 

In an 8quart covered casserole dish with an oven proof lid, heat your olive oil.  Add your lamb shanks, a teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of pepper and brown on all sides.
Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add your cut up onion, garlic and saute until fragrant. Add your artichokes and split them again if you need to.  When it begins to sizzle, add some of your artichoke water again and let reduce.  Add your lamb shanks back to
 the pan. 

Preheat your oven to 325 F.
Give it a gentle mix.  Add the rest of your salt, wine and let reduce for about 5 minutes.
 Give it another gentle mix and add your liquid 3/4 up the pot. 

Bring to a simmer and add your lid. 
Place your pot into the oven for approximately 1 hour and a half.  Check it at the hour mark.  If you need more liquid, add more artichoke water. You can even add some water.  Gently give your lamb shanks a turn.  It is normal to see them begin to fall apart.  You will also notice the liquid slowly evaporating.  This is normal.
Gently remove your hot pot from the oven and remove the lid.
Remove your meat and place into your serving dish.   Turn your heat on under your pot again and reduce your liquid. 

Carefully remove your sauce and artichokes and pour over your meat.  Serve with plenty of crusty bread and a good glass of red wine like Chianti or Shiraz.  Buon Appetito. 

Special note:  When shopping for Lamb shanks try to find the shanks from Australia.  The American lamb can be quite large and very fatty at times.  American lamb is quite good for Leg of lamb or chops.   Australian lamb is much smaller and very tasty.  If you find the smell gamy, try marinating the shanks ahead for a few hours in some white wine.   Enjoy!


Newlywed Cook said…
I never knew how to prepare artichokes except leaving them with all the leaves and steaming them. This is changing my world! I am going to try it out with some of the lovely artichokes we're getting around here right now. That lamb looks so tender and mouthwatering too!
Hi Newlywed cook!
thanks for your kind reply.
Isn't that like eating a banana with the peel on?
You must always peel away the spiny, outer, dark layer to reveal the soft supple, skin underneath. Rub all over with lemon and set aside for a few minutes at best before ready to use. Discard those outer pieces. Enjoy. Let me know how it works out.
Hello, Easter Sunday! I am heading out to get shanks now, and hope that I can find the carciofi, too! Beautiful dish Barbara... If I have to order the shanks (my fear is that Tucson is like Memphis) we will be having this next weekend! Buona Pasqua!~ David

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