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    Notes - March 18, 2015

    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music


    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad are joined by contest winner, guest sommelier Mark Friesner to talk about Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Kunde Estate Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Bertani Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2011 and Francois Lurton Pinot Grigio.

    Have a listen!



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    ‘Sweet Heat’ Braised Lamb Shanks


    •    1 Tbs. canola oil

    •    4 lamb shanks, 14 to 16 oz. each, blotted dry

    •    Kosher salt

    •    Freshly ground black pepper

    •    1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

    •    2 medium cloves garlic, minced

    •    3/4 cup red wine (Casal Thaulero Merlot / Cabernet)

    •    8 oz. (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries

    •    1 cup lower-salt beef broth

    •    1/3 cup honey

    •    2 Tbs. minced canned chipotles in adobo

    •    2 tsp. ground cumin

    •    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus 1 Tbs. for garnish


    Use a cast-iron skillet for this recipe if possible, the pan keeps temperature stead and even. You can braise other cuts of meat like short ribs too.
    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

    Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add the oil, swirling the pan to coat the bottom; then add the lamb shanks and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the shanks to a plate. Season generously with salt and pepper.

    Cook the onion in the skillet over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, and bring the mixture to a boil.

    Stir in the cranberries, broth, honey, chipotles, and cumin and cook until the cranberries begin to pop, about 5 minutes. Arrange the shanks in the skillet, cover tightly with an ovenproof domed lid or heavy-duty aluminum foil, and put the skillet on a rimmed baking sheet (to make it easier to transfer without spilling). Transfer to the oven and cook, turning the lamb shanks 2 or 3 times during cooking, until they are fork tender, 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

    Transfer the shanks to a medium bowl and cover to keep warm. Skim any fat from the sauce in the skillet and boil over high heat until the liquid lightly coats the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the shanks to the skillet, briefly turning them in the sauce, and serve sprinkled with the remaining 1 Tbs. cilantro.

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