This week’s Ophthalmic Women Leaders (OWL) annual board meeting in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, brings back memories of the five years I spent living full-time in Tahoe City, California, after my three sons all left home for college.
Fabulous après-ski recipes were treasured and shared with neighbors and friends, particularly one like this that could be assembled and put in a low-heat oven for the whole day while skiing at Squaw Valley, our favorite Tahoe ski area.
Hearty lamb shanks with currants and chickpeas never failed to made the house smell fabulous when we returned home after a long day on the slopes.
Ingredients Serves four
• 4 (1 to 11/4-pound) lamb shanks
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
• 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 cup dried red currants, or dried apricots
• 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
• 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Before leaving for the ski area, preheat broiler and season lamb shanks with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and half of the oil. Place on a baking sheet and broil until dark brown, turning often (about 15 minutes).
Sauté the onions, carrots and garlic with remaining oil and salt in an oven-safe pan until softened and lightly browned (7 to 8 minutes). Stir in cinnamon sticks and currants or apricots.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place cooked lamb shanks on top of vegetables. Pour water halfway up shanks and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast in oven until meat is fork-tender, (around 6 hours).
Place lamb shanks on a warm platter. Skim fat from pan and add chickpeas and place on stovetop over medium-high heat. Cook until liquid is reduced by half (5 to 8 minutes). Stir in mint, parsley and lemon juice. Add salt if needed.
Remove cinnamon and discard. Spoon chickpea mixture onto serving plates and top with a lamb shank.
These lamb shanks deserve to be served with a wonderful Bordeaux or Burgundy, particularly one with a few years’ bottle age, if you can afford it after the cost of today’s lift tickets.
Ellen Troyer with the Biosyntrx staff
This dish can be made even easier by purchasing delicious precooked lamb shanks from Costco and adding the chickpeas, currants and spices after you return home from the mountain in the late afternoon. These were not available during the years I lived in Tahoe and they are not always available at Costco, so when they are, I buy all I can and freeze them.The frozen precooked ones are a particularly good idea when you have house guests and don’t think you have time for the lamb shanks’ morning preparations while getting breakfast together for a crowd anxious to get to the ski mountain.
Recipe adapted from one found in the Wall Street Journal. Photo by Steve Johnson.