This goes into the “Big Bowl of Comfort” category. Braised Lamb Shanks with Kabocha Squash melts in your mouth, warms your belly and fills you with a sense of well being and love. Isn’t that what comfort food is supposed to do? Yes, that may be pure hyperbole, but this really is a lovely dish.
Cooking the shanks low and slow ensures that the meat literally falls off the bone when done. Marinating the shanks in warming spices and aromatics for 24 to 48 hours ensures the flavor is deep and rich.
Kabocha squash is widely available in grocery stores now. My absolute favorite winter squash, kabocha is so versatile to cook. Kabocha can be steamed, baked, roasted, stuffed, fried in tempura batter, made into soup, used in a stew. The uses are myriad, and the flavor and texture are like a cross between a potato and a pumpkin. If you cannot find a kabocha squash, ask your produce manager to order them. You can substitute with another winter squash, such as acorn or butternut squash.
- 2 lamb shanks, trimmed
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 3 cans (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken broth
- 2 pounds Kabocha squash, peeled cut into 1 inch cubes
- Place the lamb shanks into a resealable plastic bag.
- In a small bowl combine the onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and Aleppo pepper.
- Rub the marinade into the lamb shanks, seal the bag and marinate the lamb for a minimum of 24 hours up to 48 hours.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy braising pot or Dutch oven.
- Remove the lamb shanks from the marinade, reserving the onions and garlic.
- Over medium high heat brown the lamb shanks on all sides.
- Remove the shanks and reserve on a plate.
- Add the reserved marinated onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Return the shanks to the pot.
- Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot.
- Cook for 2 hours, checking the liquid level on occasion.
- Stir in the squash.
- If needed, add more water or broth to the pot to ensure the squash has enough liquid to cook.
- Cover the pot, cook an additional 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
**Have your butcher trim the lamb shanks of any extra fat and silver skin.
Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce sent the Kabocha Squash for recipe development.