Saturday, September 12, 2020

Fresh from the Farm: American-raised Lamb for Armenian Lamb Recipes

Doug and I just got back from Fox Trot Farm in Lancaster, SC,  less than 30 miles from our home. We toured the farm a little over a year ago and fell in love with the place. What’s extra-special about this farm is that sheep (and other animals) are raised here, and when the time is right, the sheep are, well, you know.

When we first visited Fox Trot Farm in 2019, we were warmly greeted by owners Debbie and Bob Burgess. I wrote and posted a story about it. In it, Debbie shared her delicious recipe for lamb shanks. 

Much to our disappointment, lamb wasn’t available for purchase that day.

So, earlier this week, when Debbie posted on the farm's FB page that lamb was packaged and ready for purchase, I immediately placed an order for 4 lamb shanks and 2 lbs. of ground lamb, and made our appointment for a safely-distanced pick-up.

Our lamb shanks and ground lamb purchase from Fox Trot Farm

Doug and I have made lamb shanks before and posted the recipe on our website- our recipe even showed up in The Armenian Mirror-Spectator

When we're ready to cook the shanks, we’ll feel good knowing that we're using American lamb raised by people we know! 

Not many people are fortunate enough to have a farm like this - practically at their doorstep!

What will we make with the ground lamb? Losh Kebab, Kufteh, Lule Kebab ... the sky's the limit!

Armenian Lamb Shanks
Our recipe for Armenian Lamb Shanks

Ingredients:

4 meaty lamb shanks, trim off fat

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

3 bay leaves

3 to 4 cups homemade lamb broth (water or low-sodium beef broth may be used)

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Day 1: Parboil shanks in a large pot of lightly salted water for about 2 hours. The water should almost cover the shanks. By doing this, the cooking time is cut down on serving day, and you’ll end up with a large bowl of lamb broth for future recipes – soup, lamb and string bean stew, or whatever you are inspired to prepare.

Note: Cool the broth and place it in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim off any fat that rises to the top and discard. Use some of the broth to prepare the shanks; the remaining broth can be stored in containers and placed in the freezer for future recipes.

Day 2 – Serving Day:

Sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil in a pot large enough to hold the shanks, vegetables and broth. Add the shanks, bay leaves, broth and seasonings to taste.

Place a cover on the pot in a tilted position; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer shanks for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check periodically to ensure there is still enough liquid to prevent burning. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Remove bay leaves. Once done, the tender, falling-off-the-bone lamb, can be served in individual bowls over a bed of buttered noodles with plenty of vegetables and cooking liquid from the pot. Armenian rice or bulgur pilaf would be an ideal accompaniment in place of the noodles.

Crusty bread or garlic bread (for dipping into the juices) and a tossed green salad make for a very satisfying and traditional lamb shank dinner.

Recipe option: Instead of using lamb broth, add 1/2 to 1 cup red wine depending on the number of lamb shanks. Then add a 15 oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes with liquid (and additional liquid, if necessary) and dried herbs, such as oregano and thyme, depending on the amount of meat. Continue to cook as mentioned above for day 2.

What to do with Leftover Meat from the Shanks:

Larger leftover meat pieces may be shredded and added to a string bean stew, while smaller bits of leftovers may be turned into a breakfast hash with an egg on top.

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