Lamb Shanks with Carrots and Polenta

Apparently, Mr. B does not trust me. Apparently, he thinks I am an evil ogress just waiting to rain destruction down upon the earth. Apparently, when he opened the freezer this morning, he thought I had resorted, for no discernible reason, to cannibalism.

I ask you, does this look anything like a human shin bone?

If you said yes, I challenge you: Why would you know that?

In fairness to my paranoid husband, I may have been reading a few things that worried him. Starting with the account of the whaling ship Essex (crew turned cannibal, sadly, to avoid imaginary cannibals), followed by a book about the Franklin expedition (Owen Beattie thinks they probably turned cannibal), followed by Askenasy’s Cannibalism: From Sacrifice to Survival. And no, these are not the only books about cannibals that I own.

Still, I own even more books about deep sea biology, yet as far as I know no one has ever accused me of being a squid.

At any rate, those lovely meaty shins above did not come from a human, but from a delicious lamb. The best part about cooking these in foil, as recommended by the current issue of Fine Cooking,  is that Mr. B and I could have different flavors. I had honey, apricot, and lemon. He had barbecue.

Ingredients (Serves two. Easily doubled, halved, etc; one shank per person, veggies as desired.)

2 T olive oil

2 lamb shanks

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

3-4 cloves garlic

1 onion, chopped*

1 T kosher salt

2 sprigs rosemary

pepper and other spices as desired

For BBQ version

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

For fruity version

3 T lemon juice

2-3 T honey

8 dried apricots

*Mr. B won’t eat anything if an onion has even looked at it, so we didn’t have any. It was kind of a shame. I highly encourage the use of onions.



Heat oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a skillet and drop the shanks in to brown on all sides. Meanwhile, chop up your carrots and other vegetables and divide them into two piles, each on their own nice big square of aluminum foil.

When your shanks are browned, or you’re just bored of messing with them in a pan that is not cast iron, lay them over the vegetables. Season with salt and other spices.

Now for barbecue: just pour some barbecue sauce over the shank and wrap up the foil.

For the fruit and honey:  add the apricots around the base of the lamb, pour on the honey and lemon juice, and wrap it up as well.

Place both shanks on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The cookie sheet is to keep the inevitable leak of sauce from catching fire in the bottom of the oven. I’ve done it before. Trust me, you don’t want to clean up after that.

Serve with polenta* or roasted potatoes or just a pile of matzoh.

*I know some Jews don’t eat corn during Passover. Please don’t yell at me. I’m not making you eat it. If you are okay with corn during Passover, still remember that adding butter or parmesan makes it inappropriate to serve with lamb. If you’re not Jewish, by all means, wrap it in bacon and eat it with a pile of cheese.


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