Here, lamb shanks are wrapped in individual foil packets with vegetables, herbs, vermouth, and a sliver of butter and then roasted until luscious and fork-tender. Serve them as is—the vegetables cooked with the meat give you a built-in side dish—or pile them atop creamy polenta or mashed potatoes. Be sure to pour every last flavor-packed drop of cooking liquid onto the meat before serving.
From the Test Kitchen: Learn Molly Stevens’ technique for preparing lamb shanks for cooking.
Arrange four 16×16-inch squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a work surface. Put one-quarter of the leeks, one-quarter of the carrots, 1 rosemary sprig, and 1 strip of orange zest on each square. Season each with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Pat the lamb shanks dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, brown the shanks on all sides, about 10 minutes total per batch. Transfer 1 shank to each foil square, arranging it on top of the vegetables. Draw up the edges of the foil to capture any juice, but don’t seal the packets yet.
Return the skillet to medium heat, add the vermouth, and bring to a simmer, scraping the skillet with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat. Portion the vermouth evenly among the 4 packets, pouring it over the lamb. Dot each shank with a slice of the butter.
Fold the foil to form rectangular packets, sealing the seams tightly. Arrange the packets on a baking sheet; it’s fine if they touch but they shouldn’t overlap. Bake for 2-1/2 hours; then check for doneness by carefully opening one of the packets (watch out for the steam) and testing the meat with a fork—it should be tender and pulling away from the bone. If necessary, continue to bake for another 10 minutes and check again.
Transfer the contents of the packets to large plates or pasta bowls, surrounding the shanks with the vegetables and juice. Remove the rosemary and orange zest before serving, if you like.
For dessert, serve a simple Apple Crisp with Pecans & Orange with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tried this a second time substituting leek with yellow onion, and vermouth with port. Also added 1-2 cloves of sliced garlic to each foil package. Omitted oranges (now seemed unnecessary with the port/onion/garlic combo). Served with cous cous and blanched green beans. Excellent meal all around and won't change a thing for the next time.
Absolutely delicious and very easy. We forgot to add orange zest, but we ate this alongside pasta w marinara, so it might've been better off without.
Amazing recipe and beautiful to serve. Fabulous served with Ottolenghi's cous cous with roasted tomatoes.
I simply followed everything and it came out great. Meat was tender, juicy and delicious. I served one shank per guest still wrapped in foil for the big surprise. Everybody enjoyed it.
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