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Braised Lamb Shanks in Orange-Merlot Sauce (Passover)

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“From Reform Judaism magazine, Spring 2007. "Since leg of lamb is technically not kosher (because the sciatic nerve runs through it), lamb shanks are the meat of choice when you want a flavorful lamb dish on your seder table. Slowly braising the shanks in an aromatic liquid flavored with kosher wine yields a moist, tender, fall-off-the-bone delicacy". This requires at least 2 hours (to overnight) marination. FYI-in Israel, and in some other parts of the world, the sciatic nerve is removed from the leg of lamb by butchers thus making it kosher! It is not kosher in the United States.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Combine the basil, oregano, rosemary, orange juice, orange zest, Merlot and garlic and pour over the rinsed lamb shanks in a wide glass dish (shanks should be in a single layer).
  2. Turn the shanks to coat and cover.
  3. Marinate 2 hours at room temperature, turning the meat every half hour or marinate in the refrigerator, turning meat occasionally.
  4. Remove the shanks from the marinade and dry them with paper towels. Reserve the marinade.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. Season the lamb with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Heat a large skillet over high heat for 20 seconds. Add the olive oil and heat for 10 seconds then lower the heat to medium-high and add the lamb shanks.
  8. Cook each side for approximately 2 minutes until browned on all sides.
  9. Place shanks in a single layer in a casserole dish and pour the chicken stock into the hot pan.
  10. Scrape up any meat particles, add them to the reserved marinade and pour over the shanks in the casserole and cover with a lid (use foil if no lid).
  11. Put casserole in the preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. (The hot oven will sear the meat initially, but the mixture needs to cook at a lower temperature or the meat will toughen.).
  12. Roast for 45 minutes then baste and cook for another 1-1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender and easily pulls away from the bone.
  13. If the liquid has reduced greatly, add 1/2 cup of water to the pan.
  14. Remove the shanks to a serving platter and keep warm.
  15. If the gravy is too watery, boil the liquid down 5-10 minutes, or until it is the consistency of tomato sauce.
  16. Drizzle some of the sauce over the shanks and serve.

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