Lamb shank is one of my favorite cuts of meat, especially when cooked sous-vide. It is so flavorful, tender, and moist. And so I keep coming up with new ways to prepare it. In this case I thought it would be nice to pair it with smoked paprika and zucchini. I used the soft inner part of the zucchini for the sauce, and sautéed the rest. With a bit of fresh mint and mashed potatoes a delicious meal was put on the table. And it was very nice indeed. The lamb married very well with the smoked paprika, and the sautéed zucchini provided a nice crunchy contrast with the velvety lamb. We hardly ever eat the Dutch trio of “potatoes, veg and meat”, but in this case we did 😉 [If you don’t have sous-vide equipment, you could stew the lamb on the stovetop or in the oven. Just add the lamb to the onions with a bit of white wine or water, and cook over very low heat until the lamb is tender.]
For 2 servings
2 small or 1 large lamb shank, about 500 grams (1.1 lb)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 onion, chopped
500 grams (1.1 lb) potatoes
extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp corn starch
Two nights before, season the lamb shanks with salt and smoked paprika.
Vacuum seal them, and cook sous-vide for 48 hours at 62C/144F.
On the night you are going to serve the dish, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and add a chopped onion. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly.
Peel the potatoes and boil them to make mashed potatoes.
Trim the ends of two zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inner part with the seeds using a spoon, and chop it.
Add the inner part of the zucchini to the onions. Season with salt, and increase the heat to medium-low.
Cook the onions and inner part of the zucchini until soft and golden, stirring regularly, about 15-20 minutes.
Cut the outer part of the zucchini into chunks and sauté in olive oil over high heat.
Sauté the zucchini until they are tender but firm to the bite, and nicely browned (but not charred!). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Take the lamb shanks out of the sous-vide.
Pour the juices from the bag into a bowl. Mix a teaspoon of corn starch with two teaspoons of cold water, and add the resulting slurry to the bag juices. Stir to mix.
Add this mixture to the onion mixture.
Stir over medium heat until the sauce has thickened, then lower the heat.
Take the meat off the bones, and cut the meat into chunks.
Add the meat to the sauce…
…and stir briefly until warmed through. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and smoked paprika.
Mash the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt.
Serve the meat with the mashed potatoes and sautéed zucchini on preheated plates. Garnish with a tablespoon of minced mint and some more smoked paprika.
This could be nice with a Chinon or other cabernet franc from the Loire region, provided that you can find one that doesn’t have a “green edge”. Unfortunately, in most vintages cabernet franc doesn’t get ripe enough in the cool climate. However, a cabernet franc from a warmer climate would probably be too strong for this dish.
Penne with scamorza, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes is a perfect dish for the summer.