We have not cooked lamb shanks in roughly eight years. Last week we revisited the lamb shank. We removed the bones and the gristle and sinew. We seasoned the meat with garam masala and salt. We dusted the meat with Activa and rolled it into a roulade. Once the roulade was set we brushed it with vadouvan yogurt and then cooked it sous vide for 24 hours at 67 degrees Celsius. The meat became tender and absorbed all the flavors we wanted to impart in it. We were then able to sear the braised meat to make a rich and crispy crust on the exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender. We paired the shank with a relish of cucumber and orange marmalade and a ragout of hoisin lentils and cucumber puree.
The combination of flavors was tasty. We were really pleased with the ragout of cucumber and hoisin. Still, the meat itself, despite all our efforts, fell short. Lamb shanks tend to be overly lamby in flavor. While the meat was nicely cooked, the texture did not win me over. I would much rather eat a braised or roasted lamb neck or even a slice of braised lamb belly. The uniform marbling in these other under utilized cuts of meat far surpasses that of the shank.
Though if we start talking other shanks like veal and beef I am certainly game. Those shanks are well worth the efforts it takes to cook them. In fact veal shanks are a real favorite and have always been greeted with enthusiasm when they emerge from our kitchen. So perhaps the problem is that we have yet to discover the ultimate method of cooking our lamb shanks. We'll keep trying, just not today.