Ivan Orkin's Soy & Honey Braised Lamb Shanks with Celery & Haroset Salad

 

These meltingly tender lamb shanks are distinctly Japanese in flavor as they are braised with soy, sake, ginger and honey. The celery salad is the “bitter herb” and haroset components of the Seder plate, brought to life in this hearty dish, featuring another key piece of the seder plate, the shank bone.

Ingredients:

(for the lamb)

6 lamb shanks (hind shanks preferred)
3 T Canola oil to sear
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup dry sake
¼ cup honey (preferably acacia)
1 large Spanish onion, large dice
1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
3 coins fresh ginger root
6 whole peeled garlic cloves
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
1 quart high quality store bough beef broth or consommé
Chives to garnish

(for the salad)

The tender hearts and leaves of 2 heads of celery. Leaves should be picked apart from the light colored heart stalks. The heart stalks should be cut a thinly as possible on a long bias. 
3 scallions, cut as finely as possible
1 Fuji apple, cut into very thin strips
½ cup toasted walnut halves, lightly crushed
6 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 t finely chopped (or microplaned) fresh ginger root
¼ t karashi Japanese mustard
Kosher salt and black freshly ground black pepper to taste
 
 
Method: (for the lamb)

Pre-heat oven to 325 F
In a large heavy Dutch oven with tight fitting lid, heat the canola oil until barely smoking
Dry the lamb shanks well and season with salt and pepper
Sear the shanks on all sides until very well browned.  Remove from the pan and reserve.
In the same pan, add the onion, and carrot, and cook until the onions begin to soften (about 3 minutes). 
Add the tomatoes, ginger, and garlic and sauté another 3 minutes. 
Deglaze the pan with the sake
Add the stock, honey and soy sauce.
Return the shanks to the pot.
Bring the liquid to a hard boil
Cover the pot and place the covered pot into the oven.  The liquid should cover the shanks by about ¾.   If there is not enough liquid, one can add more chicken broth, or even a bit of water.
Cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  The shanks should be falling off the bone. 
Carefully Remove the shanks from the liquid and keep warm.
Strain the liquid from the solids in the pan.  Discard the ginger coins.   Defat the broth
Add the onion, tomato, carrot and garlic to a blender.  Add about 3-4cups of the braising liquid. 
Puree well into a smooth sauce, keep warm.  If you want the sauce thicker, you can add some matzo meal to the blender to act as a thickening agent. Adjust seasoning with salt.

(For the salad)

Just before serving whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, & ginger .  Toss with remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve:

The lamb shanks are best served on a large platter covered with the sauce and topped with the snipped chives.  Serve the salad in a bowl to be passed amongst the guests and to be served along side the lamb.  Or, plate individually with the shanks, well-sauced, and the salad on the side.