Lamb Shanks Braised With Garlic Bulbils


No, that’s not a typo. Bulbil: “In botany, tiny secondary bulb that forms in the angle between a leaf and stem or in place of flowers on certain plants. Bulbils, called offsets when full-sized, fall or are removed and planted to produce new plants. They are especially common among such plants as onions and lilies.” The definition is from Encyclop√¶dia Britannica. The actual articles are from Russian Red garlic plants, proudly sold to me by a farmer at the Del Ray Farmers’ Market in Alexandria, Virginia. This recipe is a more conventional version of my pressure cooker lamb shanks recipe, and one perfectly suited for those of my readers who have yet to pick up their very own pressure cooker. Rich, fragrant lamb, cooked low and slow in a gentle bath of wine, stock, rosemary, and the aforementioned garlic bulbils, this dish is a wonderful way to experience the alchemical properties of braising. The wild characteristics of inexpensive cuts of meat (tough muscle, chewy sinew, and rubbery cartilage) are tamed over the low fire of a braising and presented to the willing diner as an elegant, delicious, and meltingly tender treasure. [And don’t worry if you don’t have a ready supplier of bulbils; an equal number of garlic cloves will suffice.]

Lamb Shanks Braised With Garlic Bulbils
serves 2

2 lamb shanks
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup veal or chicken stock
1 cup diced tomatoes
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
8 garlic bulbil heads, large husk removed, but unseparated (unpeeled garlic cloves may be used instead)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Salt and pepper shanks, then dredge well in flour. In French oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until almost smoking. Add shanks and brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes. Stir in onions and continue to cook another 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, scraping bottom of pot to release fond, cover, and bring to boil. Reduce fire to low and simmer very, very slowly, for two hours, turning shanks once or twice. Uncover, increase fire and simmer quickly, until sauce reduces a bit, about 30 minutes. Serve with some good bread, a lemon-scented salad, and a nice Amarone.

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4 Responses to Lamb Shanks Braised With Garlic Bulbils

  1. p says:

    “Readers who have yet to pick up their very own pressure cooker”– that’s me!

  2. Stephanie says:

    John, Just got a big box of pickling cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash from another freecycler. they are gorgeous. She’s bringing me tomatoes next week. Who needs a CSA? As much as I love the DR market, it’s so crowded now. Pastries pretty awful, I make much better bread, jam and pepper jelly. Don’t buy cheese because we’ll eat it in one sitting. Garden herbs seems to be doing fine, don’t need more, although something ate my dill, of all things. Do love the fact that we now have 5 markets in the city. Have been to the King St. one on Weds., Bregman on Sundays, but not the new one in Arlandria. Never cared for the Market Sq one, too yuppie. Anyway, I gave the freecycler some yarn I realized I would never use, as much as I love the colors, a jar of strawberry rhubarb jam, and an aloe cutting. Just thinking you might want to ask for contributions during harvest season.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Another freecycler picked up a bunch of stuff from my yard, gave me a big bag of those lucious lemon pear tomatoes. Wow.Life is good.

  4. Pingback: Grilled Garlic Scapes : Hungry Again

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