We are making lamb shanks for tomorrow night's Home Restaurant. We have been using Whitmore Farm Katahdin Hair Lamb. The breed has no lanolin, which is the fat that accompanies sheep with wool. Katahdin are a woolless breed and we like this because it has a cleaner flavor, none of the mutton taste that comes from lanolin. Also Whitmore's Farm does not let their lamb get too big, so the shanks are a perfect size portion-wise as well as texture and flavor. For any bigger and I would have to cook them too long just to make tender, thereby losing much of the delicious flavor.
I braise these shanks in a red wine and water concoction that I steep for hours with herbs, onions and garlic prior to adding the lamb. I do not use stock because I want the lamb-ness of these particular lanolin free lambs. After my red wine concoction is flavorful enough I brown the shanks individually. Then I add the shanks to the broth and let simmer for one hour covered. I uncover the shanks and continue to cook for twenty minutes and then remove the shanks. I continue to reduce the sauce while keeping the shanks warm and then serve. Lately we have been doing beets with tops and roasted potatoes. This lamb is so flavorful I really don't want too much to compete with it. I think I will make a tomato reduction with onions and serve as a condiment.
Whitmore Farms is at Rose Park Farmers Market on Wednesdays. As our friend James say's look for "the most well dressed farmer you have ever seen".