Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Shankmeister's Recipe

MIke O'Neil aka Boreegard aka The Shankmeister sent me this message with his treatment of lamb shanks. While like Bo's wife, lamb is not for me, I thought some of you out there might be interested. Here is what Bo had to say.

In the late winter of 1996 I took the train from Hartford down to the Big Apple to spend a few days with The Reverend Doctor Eugene Sawicki, R.N. in the rectory of the most venerated Lithuanian Roman Catholic church this side of the Hudson—Our Lady of Vilnius. Back in the 60’s Eugene, or rather I should say Father Eugene, and I had survived each other’s company through Military Police School in Disgusta (uhm—Augusta), Georgia, and then were stationed together in Frankfurt am/Main in a small MP detachment guarding the U.S. Army 97th General Hospital.  Hitler had built it back in ’39 for his luftwaffe, but by then it had been ours much longer than it had been his. He (Sawicki, not Hitler) played the organ at our wedding and eventually became Godfather to two of our three children—though I doubt that he remembers just which ones).  By ’96, Eugene had become a priest, and I finally took up his invitation to visit him and his lordly orange cat Jellybean. It was a cold bleak Ash Wednesday and for dinner that evening Gene took me to the warm L’ECOLE—the busy French Culinary Institute at 462 Broadway and Grand Street (SOHO).  We both broke whatever inclination we might have had towards fasting for Lent. It is there that student chefs ply their new learned trade, and the prices are reasonable.  Their main offering that evening was braised lamb shank in a bed of polenta.  The meat fairly melted in one’s mouth.  One way or another I have tried to recreate that meal over the years. It has seen six or seven revisions, and I’m sure this current one bears little resemblance to the original. However, the meat WILL melt in your mouth.

ATTENCION: What you see below is essentially a recipe for one person. Since my wife abhors lamb, I prepare it for myself, when of an evening she is meeting with the lady’s book club or some such other.  Up to a point, you should multiply everything by the number of people you intend to feed.


Group 1
· 1 lamb shank (about a pound).
· 3 tbsp olive oil
· ½ cup chopped onion
· 3 garlic cloves chopped
· 1 large stalk of celery chopped
· 1 bay leaf
· ¾ tablespoon dried rosemary
· 1 cup beef broth
· ½ cup red wine
· 2 roma plum tomatoes, chopped
· ½ bell pepper, chopped

Group 2
· 6 ounces sliced mushrooms
· 1/3 cup of pearl barley
· some spinach

Group 3
· 1 medium carrot, chopped and quartered
· a handful of pimento stuffed green olives, sliced in half and a teaspoon of the vinegar in which they were stored.


· Dredge lamb in flour and in a frying pan brown in oil.  Add garlic, celery, onion, bell pepper and sauté.
· Add the rest of group 1 and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to an hour.
· Add group 2 and continue simmering for 45 minutes.
· Add group 3 and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with boiled potato or some warm fresh-baked bread.  I prefer putting it all in a large bowl.  But a plate will serve just as well.

                                                        The Shankmeister—Boreegard