Chef Kevin Garcia has a long history with Italian cuisine, having manned kitchens from Lucca in Boca Raton to Mario Bataliâ€™s Del Posto in Manhattan; as executive chef at New York Cityâ€™s â€™Cesca, he helms a rustic Southern Italian menu that spotlights hearty proteins and handmade pastas. Here, he bathes lamb shanks in the rich sweetness of La Rossa, a perfumy doppelbock from Milanâ€™s Birra Moretti.
- 6 lamb shanks
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 2 red onions
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 small bulb fennel
- 4 12-ounce bottles Birra Moretti La Rossa
- 1 can plum tomatoes in puree
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
• Preheat an oven to 325 degrees. Roughly chop the carrots, onions, celery and fennel, and season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
• Heat the oil in a large sautoir pan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Sear shanks all sides until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook until caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the beer and let cook until boiling. Add the tomatoes, rosemary and thyme. Finely chop the garlic, zests and parsley; add half to the shanks, and reserve the remainder for garnish.
• Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook until the lamb is fork-tender, about 2½ to 3 hours.
• Remove the shanks from the pot. Strain the vegetables, discard the herb stems and set aside. Transfer the pot to a stove on medium heat, and reduce the braising liquid until it becomes saucelike.
• Serve shanks atop mashed potatoes or soft polenta alongside some of the braising vegetables, and ladel some of the reduced braising liquid over the meat. Garnish with the remaining garlic, parsley and zest, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.