This dish is a modern rendition of osso buco, the classic Italian specialty of braised veal shanks. Here the shanks are served with white beans, instead of the more traditional risotto. The lemon-and-parsley is called gremolata (although a traditional gremolata would would also contain some anchovies).
Because the beans need time to soak it is best to start this dish the day before you plan on serving it.
This recipe was originally from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook - Italian Favorites.
1 1/2 cups dried white beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 lamb shanks (about 1/2 lb each)
2 red onions cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 large carrots, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
sea salt freshly
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh Italian parsley
Pick through the beans, discarding any bad ones. Rinse the beans. Pl;ace in a bowl, add cold water to cover, soak for 12 hours or over night.
Drain the beans and place in a saucepan. Fill with water so that there is at least 2 inches of water about the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, simmer uncovered until tender (45 - 60 minutes). Drain and set aside.
In a dutch oven over medium heat, warn the olive oil. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides - 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the opinions and carrots to the pot and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute, stirring, for 1 minutes. Add the wine, stock, tomato paste, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir well. Return the shanks to the pot. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the shanks are very tender - about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Add the beans, stir well, cover, and simmer gently over low heat until the lamb begins to fall off of the bones, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, stir together the lemon zest and parsley. Transfer the lamb and beans to individual plates and garnish with the lemon/parsley gremolata. Serve immediately.