What's on the Somm's Table?

By Marc R. Kauffman, CSW, Certified Sommelier

This dish pairs well with red wines like Laurel Glen Counterpoint or Beaucanon Estate Cabernet Franc.

Use Beaucanon Estate Longwood Chardonnay in the preparation for a real treat!

Wonderful Winter Recipe: Tangelo-Scented Lamb Shanks with Fennel

Serve these tender shanks with thick slices of toasted olive oil-and-garlic-rubbed French bread to mop up the sauce and to spread with the marrow. If you can’t find tangelos, substitute an equal amount of orange rind and juice or half the amount of lemon rind and juice.

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INGREDIENTS:

o        5 lamb shanks (each about 1&1/4 pounds), cut through the bone into 3 pieces

o        Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

o        3 tablespoons olive oil

o        4 large garlic cloves, minced

o        4 cups dry white wine (Beaucanon Estate Longwood Chardonnay)

o        3 cups chicken broth

o        2 cups water

o        6 thyme sprigs

o        1 (4-inch) rosemary sprig, cut in half

o        ½ pound carrots, cut into small, even dice

o        1/3 pound fennel, cut into small even dice

o        ½ pound onions, cut into small, even dice

o        1 cup diced canned tomatoes and their juice, pressed to a textured puree

o        Juice from 1&1/2 large tangelos

o        1 tablespoon minced tangelo zest

o        Chopped parsley for garnish

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INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

        Season shanks with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in an 11 inch diameter (or larger) heavy, oven safe pan.

        When the oil ripples add the shanks (work in batches if necessary) and sauté over medium-high heat until they are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

        As the shanks brown, transfer them to a bowl; set aside.

        When all the lamb has browned, discard all but 1/2 teaspoon of the oil in the pan. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute.

        Add the wine and simmer for a minute. Add the broth, water, thyme, rosemary and larger pieces of shank. Bring to a boil, skimming the top.

        Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently for 10 minutes, skimming once or twice.

        Add the smaller pieces of shank, submerging them in the liquid, if possible. Return to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven.

        Bake until the shanks are tender, about 70 minutes.

        If the smaller pieces aren't completely submerged, turn them once during the cooking time.

        Remove the shanks with a slotted spoon and set aside.

        Boil the liquid over high heat for 10 minutes, then strain and degrease. There should be 5 1/2 to 6 cups of broth.

        Rinsed and wipe the pot. Place over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When it ripples, add the carrot, onion and fennel. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables, caramelize, about 10 minutes.

        Add 2 cups of the lamb broth, stirring to dislodge the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

        Add the tomatoes, tangelo juice, zest and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute.

        Add the lamb shanks, spooning the sauce over them. Cover and return to the oven.

        Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, basting the shanks once or twice.

        Transfer the shank pieces to a platter. Spoon the sauce over them and garnish with chopped parsley.

        Serve 2 small or 1 large piece per person.

        Serves 4, with leftover meat and broth.

        PER SERVING: 650 calories, 62 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 32 g fat (12 g saturated), 206 mg cholesterol, 366 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.