i was toying with the idea of red cooked lamb shanks the other day… well the thought lingered and shanks were bought but then didn’t we have chinese just yesterday?.. i needed some twist and it came from (this is where one’s library worth of 200 plus cookbooks comes handy) Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration and her Wuxi-style braised short ribs:
she blanches ribs and then braises them with brandy, tawny port, soy sauce, sherry vinegar and spices (garlic, ginger, anise stars and cinnamon). I broiled shanks instead of blanching to remove most of the fat and to brown then, and instead of brandy/port combo used cranberry cognac and whiskey (this is what we had in the bar). The sauce was a pure ambrosia… On the side – to play on anise flavor component in lamb made a fennel slaw with fennel fonds and crushed wild fennel seeds; and a hash of oriental sweet potato (it has an ivory flesh and not that sweet) in scallion oil.