Lamb Shank Braised in Stout Gravy

By Chef Tyler Florence

Serves 8
2 tablespoons coriander seeds or 1 tablespoon ground
2 tablespoons fennel seeds or 1 tablespoon ground
1 tablespoon black peppercorns or 1 tablespoon ground
4 large lamb shanks (1 to 1-1/2 pounds each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 small leek, halved, sliced crosswise, and washed well
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 (16-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juices or other canned whole tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 cups dry red wine
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 (12-ounce) bottles Guinness stout
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
5 fresh marjoram sprigs
1 bunch baby carrots

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a small, heavy skillet. Toast over medium-high heat until the seeds are aromatic and slightly darker, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind to a fine powder. Alternatively, just mix the ground spices together. Rub each shank with a generous teaspoon of the spice blend and sprinkle with salt.
Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, wide, heavy pot over high heat. Add the shanks and brown on all sides, turning often, about 15 minutes. Remove the shanks from the pan. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the same pot, then add the onions, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, and bay leaves. Saute over high heat until the vegetables start to soften and take on some color, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, (crushing them by hand), tomato paste, and red wine. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes over high heat. Add the beef broth and Guinness, then return the seared lamb shanks to the pot, nestling them into the liquid. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer, then cover the pot and slide it into the oven.
Braise the shanks for 2 1/2 hours total, adding the thyme and marjoram to the pot after 2 hours. The lamb should be tender and falling away from the bone.
While the shanks braise, place the carrots on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nearly tender.
Transfer the shanks to a plate, then strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve (optional) . Return the sauce and shanks to the pot to combine. Serve with the gravy and the carrots.

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