4 California lamb shanks (we use Pozzi Ranch)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
2 ½ cups whole milk
1½ cup yogurt
½ cup + 1 T. heavy cream
1 bay leaf
1 T. minced parsley
½ tsp. fennel seeds
2 cups zucchini, medium dice
2 cups eggplant, medium dice
1 cup red bell pepper, medium dice
1 cup yellow onion, medium dice
¼ cup pureed tomato
¼ cup torn basil leaves
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper- to taste
Method - Lamb:
1- Preheat oven to 280°F. Generously season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
2- In a large braising pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat, carefully add the lamb shanks and brown for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove lamb from the pan to a tray or platter and reserve.
3- Lower the heat to medium and add the fennel, garlic, onion, celery and bay leaf. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelized.
4- Return the browned shanks to the pan with the vegetables, along with the milk, the cream and half of the yogurt. Cover with the lid or tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Allow to cook for approximately 4 hours or until the meat is tender and just falling from the bone.
5- Once fully cooked, allow to cool briefly. Remove the shanks from the pan to a serving platter and skim the fat/grease from the top of the braising liquid and discard. Place the liquid and all of the vegetables in a blender with the remaining yogurt and blend until smooth. Stir in the minced parsley and taste for seasoning.
Method - Caponata:
1. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and sauté quickly until just barely soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from the pan and reserve. Clean out the sauté pan and repeat with the rest of the vegetables, cooking each vegetable with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
2. Combine all of the cooked vegetables, basil and tomato and gently toss to combine, taste for salt.
3. To serve, place one lamb shank on each plate. Spoon the finished sauce over the lamb shanks and serve with 4 ounces of caponata.
Enjoy with a glass of Ziata Cabernet Franc.