A Soda Bread, a Lamb Shank, and an Irish Toast…

DSC07527If you grew up in my hometown, the 17th of March was on the list of major holidays. Happens when the citizens number many with roots deep in the old sod. There were Meehans, and Feehans, and Sheehans (all in one class), and an O’ or a Fitz was not foreign to the front of last names. Sure there were others too with roots vast and wide, but on that day in mid-March, we were ALL Irish just a bit. So in that spirit I offer up two recipes and a toast. Bubbe’s Irish Soda Bread with Sour Cream fills the quick bread needs of the day deliciously, and what’s better than lamb and Guinness when celebrating the best of Ireland?  And as for that Irish toast? I can’t think of one more fitting than this:

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends…


Guinness Braised Lamb Shanks

Per lamb shank

  • 1  cup of Guinness (I trust you’ll know what to do with any leftovers)
  • 1 lamb shank (1 – 1.25 pounds)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium rib celery, chopped
  • ½ a medium onion, chopped
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • ¼  cup red wine
  • 1-2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 anchovy fillet, chopped
  • ½  a bay leaf
  • 2” sprig of thyme, left whole
  • 1 “  sprig of rosemary, left whole
  • water or stock
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Generously salt and pepper the lamb shank. Brown the shank on all sides. Remove to a plate, turn heat to medium and add the chopped onion, carrots and celery and a pinch of salt to the pan. (Add some more oil to the pan if it is dry.) Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften and brown slightly. Add in the garlic and cook another minute. Add in the tomato paste and anchovy, stir into the vegetables, and cook another minute. Add the red wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add back in the lamb and any accumulated juices, the bay leaf, rosemary and thyme. Add in the beer and enough water or broth to come up to the top of the lamb shank but not cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about an hour, turning the lamb once or twice. About 10 minutes before the hour is up, turn the oven on to 325°F.  When the lamb is starting to pull away from the bone, remove the cover, baste with the braising liquid and bake, uncovered for 10 minutes. Turn shank and bake another 10 minutes. This will give the lamb a beautiful shellacked finish. Remove lamb to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Put the pan with the braising liquid over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until it is reduced and thickened a bit. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with roasted potatoes and steamed asparagus.

If you like what you read here, please help me spread the word. Meantime, I’d love you to join me on Facebook (please click the ‘like’ button), and check out what else is going on in my kitchen at cookinginmyheels.com Thanks! 🙂


6 thoughts on “A Soda Bread, a Lamb Shank, and an Irish Toast…

    • SHOCKED that you never made the foray into braised lamb shanks! They are one of my absolute favorite cozy foods, and the possibilities for wonderful braising flavors (Italian, Moroccan, French…) are endless! Enjoy the stout version….I am tonight! xoxo

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