Easter Lamb

In the Rivera family, we always had lamb for Easter. And this was enshrine in a post I did back in April 2011, where I posted the recipe for my mother's famous roasted leg of lamb (Pata de Cornero al Horno). I could reprise that recipe again for this coming Easter but then I thought, why not try something new with lamb? Delicious as it is, does it always have to be a whole leg of lamb? Also, if you haven't noticed, a leg of lamb is an expensive proposition these days. Here, on the East Coast, it can run you up to $75-80. I know, it's for a special occasion, but still? That doesn't mean you still can't have lamb for Easter. In fact, you can do very well with say, for instance, lamb shanks.

I love lamb shanks. That's what I'm cooking for my beloved group of pagans and Christians this Easter Sunday. (For the record, I include myself in the former group). Back in the old days, one recipe we revered in our family was Caribbean style lamb shanks. Where Italian cuisine would tout its Osso Buco, or braised veal shanks, we celebrated our Muslo Cornero a la Caribe. It wasn't veal, but the taste and flavor transported us to heaven.

The recipe given is from my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (Perseus Books Group). Unlike the traditional method of cooking shanks, we do not dust them with flour and then brown them in oil. We differ in that we trim the shanks of fat, then brown them, and finally simmer in slow cooking until done.

(Lamb Shanks Caribbean Style)

4 lamb Shanks (about 3 1/2 pounds)
Juice of 1 whole lemon
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 packet Sason Goya (with coriander and annatto---found in most stores or Caribbean markets)
2 bay leaves

1. Rinse lamb shanks and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Trim excess fat from shanks.
3. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Heat olive oil in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven. Add  lamb shanks and brown evenly on low-moderate heat.
5. Add tomatoes with their liquid, onion, garlic, oregano, cilantro, sason, and bay leaves.
6. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Serve with rice pilaf, or yellow rice and pigeon peas.
    Yield: 4 servings.

Photo: courtesy of etsy.com


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