I am going to share a little secret with you. When I make braised lamb shanks for holidays or just for a dinner, people think I have slaved all day over these things. The truth is this: while they do cook for hours on end, it takes about 5 minutes of prep time to set up, and another 15 minutes at the end. Easy, peasy. Plus, it is a good excuse to break out that crock pot that you never use. So, here is my recipe for braised lamb shanks with pomegranate sauce.
To serve 6 people, you will need the following:
6 lamb shanks
Several sprigs of rosemary and thyme
1 bottle of red wine
1 small bottle of pomegranate juice
Pomegranate seeds (you can buy just the seeds, no need for the messy whole fruit)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper
The trick to this recipe is to start it about 10 – 12 hours before you want to eat. Cut up the onions into large pieces and spread them around the bottom of a crock pot. Put lamb shanks on top of onions. Pour in about 1/3 of the wine. Add two or three sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Cover. Set on high for 6 hours or on low for 10 – 12 hours. Go away. Enjoy your time at the pool, sipping a cocktail. Come back later. They are still not done, so you have plenty of time for some errands, and possibly to take in a movie.
When it is nearly time to serve, you may want to make the sauce. (These are perfectly good sauce-free, mind you, but the sauce really does add a little punch.) Put the sugar in a medium size pot, add about 6 ounces of pomegranate juice and heat. Add another third of a bottle of the wine (see, there is even leftovers for you to sip while slaving over this recipe…) Add a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce by at least half. When it is nice and saucy, turn off heat.
To serve, remove lamb shanks from crock pot and place on a platter. They will likely fall apart. This is how you know they are cooked to perfection. Top with sauce, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. If you have them, sprinkle a few chopped scallions, or some parsley on top for an extra-fancy look.
Enjoy, knowing you hardly exerted, while your guests think you have been cooking all day.