Braised Lamb Shanks with Curried Cauliflower and Roasted Grapes are an elegant make-ahead dinner party dish that is so simple you could serve it as a weekday, family style meal too.
*Straining the sauce before serving is optional and makes for a more elegant presentation.
- 1 pound seedles red grapes, stemmed
- 2 tablespoon julienne of fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoon julienne of fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- 5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (separated)
- kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper (as needed)
- 4 lamb shanks
- 1 large onion (cut into ¼-inch dice)
- 4 clove garlic (divided, peeled and minced)
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon cooking sherry
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cup low-sodium chciken stock
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 shallots (peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
Roast the grapes: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the grapes , spread out as much as possible, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until the grapes are just beginning to shrivel and split, about 35 minutes. Let them cool slightly on the baking sheet.
Place the cooled grapes into a medium bowl, toss with the basil, mint, both zests, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to serve. The grapes can be made up to 1 day ahead. In which case refrigerate and then allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Make the lamb: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat. Season the lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper. When the oil is very hot, add the shanks and brown on all sides, using tongs to turn often. Remove the shanks to a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 3 cloves minced garlic and cook an additional minute. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add sherry, vinegar, and Worcestershire; simmer to reduce by half. Add tomato paste, stirring until it melts into the liquid.
Return the shanks and any accumulated juices to the pan, add the stock followed by anise, coriander and mustard seeds; cover the pan. Turn heat to very low and braise lamb until very tender, 2 to 2 ½ hours. The shanks can be made up to 1 day ahead. In which case allow them to cool completely, cover and refrigerate. Bring them to room temperature before continuing.
Meanwhile make the cauliflower: Remove any greenery, cut the head of cauliflower in half and cut out most of the stem. Break into large florets and then slice into ¼-inch thick pieces.
Heat the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan (at least 12-inches) over medium heat. Add the shallots and the remaining clove of minced garlic. Cook stirring often until the shallots are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower in as close to a single layer as possible. Cook undisturbed until the cauliflower releases much of its liquid and begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to sauté, tossing occasionally until the florets are just tender, an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the curry powder, tossing to coat the florets; season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside in a warm place.
Plate the dish: Re-heat the shanks in the braising liquid if necessary, then remove them from liquid. *Strain braising liquid into a small saucepan and simmer to reduce until velvety in texture. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the cauliflower among 4 heated rimmed plates or shallow bowls. Top each with a warm lamb shank, spoon the pan sauce over the top, and garnish with a generous sprinkling of the roasted grape mixture. Serve warm.