Braised Lamb Shanks and Lentils
Lentils are an excellent source of fiber and protein. In this hearty dish, Suvir Saran, executive chef and owner of Devi restaurant in New York City, uses belgua lentils, which resemble belgua caviar in their raw state.
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 (12-ounce) lamb shanks
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 dried red chiles
- 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Hebron or herbes de Provence
- 1 (750 mL) bottle dry red wine
- 1 1/2 pounds black beluga, French green, or sabut masoor lentils
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches as necessary, add shanks, rosemary, salt, and pepper; brown shanks on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer shanks to a large plate and set aside.
Add bay leaves, chiles, and cinnamon stick to Dutch oven; cook until chiles begin to brown, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low; add garlic and cook, stirring, until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in onions, shallots, and Herbes de Hebron; cook, stirring, until onions are dark brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. If onions begin to stick or darken too quickly, add a little water and scrape up from bottom of pan to prevent burning.
Add wine to Dutch oven and cook until onions become plump and jammy, about 5 minutes. Stir in lentils and cook until they begin to stick to Dutch oven, 2 to 3 minutes. Return shanks to Dutch oven and stir to combine. Add about 6 cups water, or just enough to cover shanks. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook until meat easily pulls off bone, about 2 1/2 hours.
Transfer Dutch oven to stovetop and carefully transfer shanks to a serving platter; season shanks with salt and pepper and loosely cover with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and set aside. Bring lentils and cooking liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook until liquid is reduced, 3 to 5 minutes. Season lentils with salt and pepper and serve over shanks.