Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


General braising technique

Filed under: — adam @ 3:14 pm

I originally posted this on Ask Mefi, but it’s worth repeating.

Here’s my recipe for braised lamb shanks.

Sprinkle kosher salt over shanks. Pan sear shanks in olive oil until good and brown. Not “just browned”, slightly crispy. Do them in batches if you’ve got a small pan – that’s fine. Lay a bunch of assorted fresh herbs in the bottom of a large pan (any will do, but be sure to include rosemary – it goes particularly well with lamb), and lay the shanks on top. Fill the pan with a mixture of 1/2 wine and 1/2 stock, to halfway cover the shanks. Put in the oven for 1 hour on 350, uncovered (this differs from many braises, which are done in a covered pan). Then add sliced vegetables to the pan (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, mushrooms all work well – use your imagination here). Check every 30 minutes, turn everything when it’s starting to brown and dry out. Add more stock/wine when needed to keep it at the halfway point. Total oven time is probably around 3 hours – it’s done when the vegetables are tender and the meat is falling off the bone. Remove from the oven, and let it cool in some of the liquid. Take the rest out, reserve half. Take the other half, and reduce down a bit, and add some cornstarch or arrowroot which you’ve dissolved in water (this is called a slurry). Stir this in, and let it cook for a few minutes. This will thicken the sauce, which you can add back over the dish and serve . But wait, you’re not done yet! Take the rest of the sauce you reserved, and reduce it over a low flame unil it’s very syrupy (this will be about 1/16th the original volume, but YMWV). This may take an hour. Cool rapidly in an ice bath, and refrigerate. Congratulations! You’ve just made a lamb glace. This is extremely precious (yes, taste it). It will keep in the fridge for a few months. Reconstitute it with boiling water, and use it as part of the stock portion for next time, or for other sauces. Same basic technique works with short ribs.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress