I was feeling Greek/Mediterranean type flavors with this recipe. Sometimes I just get in moods to cook certain flavors and cuisines. Here is a lamb shank that was braised with a light sauce of oregano, dill, and pistachios. I love greek and mediterranean flavors and I hope that I can go to Greece one day in the near future. For now I will concentrate on this recipe for you all. It also includes one of mine and Jp’s favorites which is moussaka. Moussaka is a basically a ragout of onion, fennel, eggplant, and tomatoes with lots of herbs and spices. Pretty easy and straight forward but really delicious. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

4 large lamb shanks
1 onion chopped
2 leek tops
1 garlic bulb
2 sprig of dill chopped
2 fresh bay leafs
2 tbsp of dried greek oregano
2 carrots and 2 celery stalks chopped
1/2 cup of pistachios
1 fennel tops chopped
1 lemon zested and juiced
Stock or water to fill (2 qt)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups braising liquid 1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup dill sprigs
1/2 cup of roasted pistachios

Moussaka
2 eggplant peeled and large baton
1 fennel sliced
1 onion
5 heirloom tomatoes or 1 box of Pom tomatoes
1 tsp chili fakes
5 garlic cloves
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp Greek Oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups of water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup of beluga lentils
1 thyme sprig
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp of salt
Splash of sherry vinegar

Pita Bread
3 1/2 cup all purpose flour 6 oz melted butter 1/4 cup yogurt 2 tbsp honey 1 pkg yeast 1 cup warm water 2 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil (for cooking the pita in the pan)

For the lamb shank,

For the Lamb season with salt and pepper. Add the lamb to a medium hot braising pan with olive oil. Sear on the first side for 4 minutes and then flip over and add all the other ingredients except the water. Cook for 4-5 minutes so all the aromatics can start to release their flavors. Then add the water and bring to boil. Wants it comes to a boil, turn down to a very soft or light simmer (barely bubbling) and cover. Cook for 2 1/2 hours roughly or until the meat is completely tender. Then let the shank stay in the liquid (if you take it out of the liquid it will dry up). Take roughly 3 cups of the liquid along with some of the cooked leeks, onions, garlic, cooked pistachios and add to it the parsley, dill, and 1/2 cup of pistachios. Puree the mixture in a vitamix for 1 1/2 minutes until bright green and smooth. Season the sauce with salt and lemon if need be. Set aside and keep warm.

For the Beluga Lentils,

Place all the ingredients except the sherry vinegar into a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook the lentil for about 25-30 minutes until they are tender all the way through but not over cooked. Strain out the liquid and reserve it. Then pour the lentils onto a sheet pan lined with parchment if doing ahead of time and allow to cool completely.

For the Pita,

For the dough, add yeast and sugar to warm water to activate the yeast. Mix well with a fork and then let it sit for at least 5 minutes. In another bowl add flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the activated yeast mixture. Add yogurt, honey, and butter to the center well and, using a fork, mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. When the dough begins to come together, finish with your hands to bring the dough completely together. Or use your mixer with a dough hook to make the dough. After the dough has come together, knead it for 5 minutes, then let it rise in a covered bowl for an hour. Punch down the dough, and if you have time let the dough rise again. If you don't have time for a second rise, portion the dough into 3 oz pieces and let them rest for 20 minutes covered. With a little dusting of flour roll out the portions into round pita shapes about a 1/8—1/4 inch thick. In a large saute pan on medium high heat add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Once the pan is hot add 1 rolled out pita bread to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds or until golden brown and then flip. Once flip sprinkle a little salt on top. Cook for another 45 seconds and then take out to cool or keep warm in a towel or bread warmer. Continue the process until you have all the pita cooked.

For the moussaka,

In a large sauce pot on medium high heat add olive oil, onion, fennel, and eggplant. Cook for 4-5 minutes and chili flakes and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the tomatoes and a good healthy pinch of salt (1 tsp) along with the herbs. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes check and see if the eggplant and all the other vegetables have become very tender. Check the seasoning it will probably need a lot more salt. Season until you have good flavor. Keep warm.

To finish,

Take the shanks out of their braising liquid. Strain off the stock and reserve for another recipe (maybe a lamb pasta). Place the shanks back in the braising pan you just strained out and place the pistachio sauce on top of the shanks. Turn the heat on and just cook for a minute to make sure the lamb shank is completely hot. Take your lentils and place in a saute pan with a little of the cooking water and bring it to a boil. Season with a touch of sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, and maybe a touch of olive oil or butter. Then spoon a large spoonful onto the plate. Then take your moussaka and spoon next to the lentils. Take your shank out of the pistachio sauce and place on top of the vegetables. Add a little extra sauce on top. Garnish the top of the shank with pistachios and dill. Serve with pita ( and side of yogurt if desired) and enjoy!

lamb shank .JPG

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