Friday, November 8, 2013

Pueblo Lamb Shanks

Modern Photo of Taos Pueblo

Sheep are an introduced animal to the southwest, but they have become a very traditional food in both the Pueblos of New Mexico and the Navajo of both Arizona and New Mexico.  Shanks are an inexpensive cut of lamb, but can be quite tough if not prepared right.  This recipe renders them very tender, falling off the bone so, and is beautifully flavored with juniper.  It is found in various Native American cookbooks; this particular recipe comes from The Art Of American Indian Cooking by Yeffe Kimball and Jean Anderson.

Pueblo Lamb Shanks

3 to 4 lamb shanks
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt (optional)
Flour for dusting
1/4 vegetable or other frying oil
5 dried juniper berries
2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
8 large mushrooms, wiped clean
1 1/2 salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 cups of water, or 1 cup of water and 1 cup dry white wine
1 2lb. can of tomatoes with basil

1.  Season the shanks with black pepper (and salt if you like), then dust with flour.

2.  Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or kettle, add shanks and juniper berries.  Add the shanks and slowly brown the meat on all sides.  Remove and drain on toweling.

3.  Add onions and garlic and saute until golden.

4.  Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop, set caps and and add chopped stems to the onion mixture.

5.  Return shanks to the pan, add the salt, basil and liquid, bring to a boil and cook at this temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.  Reduce heat, add the mushroom caps and tomatoes, cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every so often.  Serve on a bed of pot beans and/or cooked seasoned hominy.

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