A recipe appeared in Saveur magazine in 2016 from the Mikla restaurant in Istanbul which had lamb shanks in a red wine sauce accompanied by a béchamel sauce with roasted eggplant. I made this dish last night as shown in the photograph. My conclusion was that the lamb shanks in the wine sauce was very good, and the accompanying béchamel sauce with roasted eggplant was OK, but nothing special. I found frozen lamb shanks at the Mediterranean Bakery & Deli on Quioccasin Rd. in Henrico. I found that after thawing for more than 24 hours in the refrigerator, the shanks were still mostly frozen.
¼ cup olive oil
6 lamb shanks (~4.5 lbs.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. black peppercorns
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leave
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 Tbs. tomato paste
2 cups red wine
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Salt and pepper the lamb shanks, and then saute them in the Dutch oven until browned on a sides. Remove the browned shanks to a bowl. Add the peppercorns, celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay, and onion to the pan. Saute until the celery and onion are cooked. Add the tomato paste and cook another 2-3 minutes until the paste has started to caramelize. Add the red wine and 4 cups of water, and thoroughly deglaze the pan. Add the lamb shanks. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the lamb shanks are tender, around 2-3 hours. Periodically remove the fat floating to the top of the pan, and stir the pot to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom and the lamb shanks are cooking evenly.
Remove the cooked lamb shanks to a sheet pan, cover with aluminum foil, and put in the oven at 200 degrees to keep warm. Strain the pot liquid through a strainer to remove all the solids, and return the liquid to the pot. Over medium-high heat reduce the liquid to about 1-1/2 cups of sauce, which will take about 30 minutes. Return the lamb shanks to the pot and stir to coat them with the sauce.
Roasted Eggplant Bechamel Sauce
1 Italian eggplant (~1 lb.)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. flour
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup grated Gruyere cheese
Freshly grated nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste
Roast the eggplant under a broiler until the skin is blacked and the flesh is cooked through, around 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Remove the flesh from the skin. Finely chop the flesh.
Make the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the eggplant and Gruyere, and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Can be served as an accompaniment to the lamb shanks.