There’s no better time than the holidays to kick your culinary creativity up a notch with a meal that will wow any dinner party guest. The savoury flavours of lamb and polenta are brought together with rich, creamy mozzarella cheese in this recipe from TV host and cookbook author, Sabrina Tutino. More great recipes can be found online at www.mozzarellissima.ca.
Servings: 6 to 8
4 lamb shanks (about 11⁄2 lbs (750 g))
2 celery stalks coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1⁄4 cup (50 mL), finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cups (750 mL) Marsala wine or Martini Rossi
1⁄2 cup (125 mL)beef stock
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
olive oil, to taste
13⁄4 cup (450 mL) milk
13⁄4 cup (450 mL) water
21⁄4 cups (550 mL) very fine corn flour
3 rosemary sprigs
2 oz (60 g) pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) Saputo Bella Lodi cheese, grated
3 cups (750 mL) Saputo Mozzarellissima cheese, grated
salt, to taste
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 2.5 to 3 hours
- Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown the lamb shanks on all sides in olive oil. Remove from skillet and place in a large ovenproof baking dish.
- In the same skillet, add the celery, onion, bay leaves, parsley and garlic, and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are lightly coloured, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add the Marsala wine and beef stock and let simmer for a couple of minutes, then pour onto the lamb shanks. Cover and cook in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours, until the meat is tender and easily comes off the bone.
- While the lamb is cooking, prepare the polenta. Boil the milk with the water, then add salt and the corn flour. Cook over medium heat until the polenta thickens, being careful not to create lumps. Remove the polenta from burner and add the rosemary, olives and Bella Lodi cheese, and mix well.
- Line an 11-inch (27-cm) baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the polenta into the pan and let it rest for 30 minutes. Bake the polenta in the oven at 325°F (160°C) for 35 to 45 minutes. Then, remove from pan and cut in 3⁄4-inch (2-cm) slices.
- Once the lamb is cooked, remove the meat from the bone and shred. Remove the vegetables, or pass the cooking liquids through a strainer, then mix the meat well with its juices, and allow to marinate.
For plating, small baking dishes are ideal to prepare and serve individual portions, or you can use one larger baking tray to prepare the dish, then serve onto smaller plates after heating.
- Place each slice of polenta on a baking dish and cover with shredded lamb and juices, then top with shredded Mozzarellissima.
- Broil in oven for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted, then serve hot.
– Leftovers of the shredded lamb shanks can be served cold in sandwich,a salad or on pappardelle with tomato sauce.
– If you have enough space in your oven, you can cook the polenta at the same time as the lamb shanks.