- Braised Lamb Shanks on Soft Polenta
- (Brasato di Agnello su Polenta)
For the Polenta:
10 cups (about) water
4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 small Turkish bay leaves
2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)
For the Lamb Shanks:
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms*
2 large oranges
4 Turkish bay leaves
2 large fresh rosemary sprigs
4 whole cloves
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
Six 1-pound lamb shanks
1 cup dry red wine (such as Barolo)
1/4 cup tomato paste
8 cups chicken broth
Prepare the Polenta:
Bring 5 cups water to simmer in medium saucepan.
Cover; keep warm over low heat.
Pour 5 cups water into large pot.
Add salt, olive oil, and bay leaves; bring to boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to medium; gradually add cornmeal, whisking to avoid lumps.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Simmer uncovered until polenta is thick, whisking often, about 3 minutes.
Whisk in 1 cup of reserved hot water.
Continue to simmer until polenta is smooth and thick, whisking often, about 3 minutes.
Add remaining hot water, 1 cup at a time, and cook until very thick after each addition, whisking often, about 20 minutes.
Prepare the Lamb Shanks:
Combine 2 cups hot water and mushrooms in small bowl.
Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 30 minutes.
Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (orange part only) from oranges in long strips.
Squeeze juice from oranges; reserve peel and juice.
Tie bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, and cloves in square of moistened cheesecloth.
Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in wide pot over medium-high heat.
Add onions; saute until golden, about 12 minutes.
Using slotted spoon, transfer onions to small bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pot.
Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper.
Add 3 lamb shanks to pot.
Saute until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to plate.
Repeat with remaining shanks.
Return onions to pot.
Using slotted spoon, add mushrooms, then mushroom soaking liquid, leaving any sediment in bowl.
Add orange peel and juice, herb bundle, wine, and tomato paste.
Boil 5 minutes, scraping up browned bits.
Return lamb to pot, arranging in single layer.
Add broth; bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Cover; simmer 30 minutes.
Partially uncover pot.
Simmer until lamb is tender, turning every 15 minutes, about 1 and 1/2 hours longer.
Transfer lamb to bowl.
Tilt pot and spoon fat off top of sauce.
Boil until sauce is thick enough to coat spoon lightly and is reduced to 5 cups, about 35 minutes.
Discard herb bundle and orange peel.
Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Return lamb to pot, spooning sauce over to coat. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate lamb, uncovered, until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm over low heat before continuing.)
Spoon polenta onto large platter.
Arrange lamb atop polenta.
Spoon sauce over lamb and serve. Makes 6 servings
Note: *Dried porcini mushrooms are available at Italian markets, specialty foods stores, and many supermarkets.
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