Braised Lamb Shanks En Papillote
I’ve made this dish for 4 dinner guests for an intimate dinner party and I’ve also made it for 12 dinner guests as a hearty meal apres ski. It works for either because it’s so easy. The only time consuming part is searing off the shanks. But be patient, get a good sear on all sides and you’ll be rewarded with tons of flavor. I’ve often skipped the pan sauce without any loss of flavor and simply poured vermouth, dry white wine, or even red wine on the shanks. Serve with roasted rosemary potatoes or whipped garlic mashed potatoes. Serves 4
- 2 leeks washed well, cut into matchsticks, white and light-green parts only
- 4 medium carrots halved lengthwise and cut into matchsticks
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 strips orange zest use a vegetable peeler
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 lamb shanks (these will taper down on one end about 1 lb. each
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
- 1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter cut into 4 slices
- Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.
- 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.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!