When fresh local asparagus and green beans first appear as harbingers of spring, I serve them with this hearty dish of lamb shanks and Cream Muffins.
Remove the excess fat from the outside of the lamb shanks. Cover the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pan or a Dutch oven that has a tight-fitting lid with a film of olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Brown the shanks in the hot oil. Grind the herbs in a spice mill or mortar and pestle and sprinkle over the shanks. Add the wine and garlic, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and braise for 1 to 2 hours or until the lamb is perfectly tender and the meat has begun to fall from the bones.
Remove the shanks to plates. Strain the liquid remaining in the pan, pressing as much of the cooked garlic through the sieve as possible. Return the liquid to the pan, reduce a little over medium-high heat if necessary, and pour over the shanks.
© 1992 All rights reserved. Published by UNC Press.