Friday, December 10, 2010

Using the Lamb Front Shank

While shopping at the Market on State, I swung by the Morgan Valley Lamb booth to choose from their extensive collection of cuts. I knew that I could not spend a fortune (which is always easy to do on quality, grass-fed, free-range meat), so I needed to shop on the fringes of my knowledge. Fortunately, since I was at a market instead of a huge box store, I had the opportunity to talk face to face with someone who knows lamb intimately. I decided to ask for something that would cook up nicely in a crock pot. "Front shank" was the enthusiastic reply.

I had never even seen a shank before. I most certainly could not have told you what part of the lamb it came from, and I would not have known what to do with it. The salesman (sure wish I'd caught his name) assured me that it would cook up beautifully and fall right off the bone.

The perfect day came for using the shank. We were to have a dinner guest, and I often turn to the crock pot on such days so that I can spend some time tidying up the place. I leafed through my favorite meat recipe cookbook, Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Main Dishes, and found about 4 good-looking lamb shank recipes and settled on using a Moroccan dish as my inspiration.
The only non-local ingredients used were the spices.

Crock Pot Moroccan Lamb Shanks
2 lamb shanks
3 medium potatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/3 cups dried apricots
1/2 tsp salt

Throw it all into a crock pot and cook on High for about 6 hours or on Low for 10 hours. Stir it up at some point during the last half of the cooking.

Enjoy this super-easy, but extremely tasty meal!

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