Grilled Lamb Shanks with Charred Garlic Glaze

Makes 6 shanks

Lamb shanks are not normally thought of as a summer gish but slowly braised, glazed and grilled they become one.

For the lamb shanks

4 medium cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 small onion, cut in half
1/2 tsp. (2 mL) sea salt
6 White Stripe lamb shanks

For the glaze

30 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) dried oregano
1 tsp. (5 mL) sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup (125 mL) lamb broth

Trim the shanks of excess fat and place in a large pot. Cover with 2″ of water and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the top and turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the onion and salt. Cook the shanks, covered, for 2-2 1/2 hours until they are extremely tender, replenishing the water if necessary.

While the shanks are cooking, place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a heavy frying pan and turn the heat to medium. What you want to do is blacken the cloves on all sides. This will caramelize the garlic inside the husks and give it a rich, nutty flavour. A few charred spots here and there is fine. Turn the cloves as they become browned on one side and remove each clove as it is done. When all the clove are done, place on a plate to cool, then peel.

When the shanks have finished cooking, remove them from the pot and place in a single layer in a shallow dish. Reserve 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the lamb broth. Place the garlic, lamb broth, salt, oregano and pepper in the work bowl of a food processor and blend into a paste. Pour the paste over the lamb shanks and turn to coat each one with the marinade. Let sit for 1 hour. The shanks may be prepared to this point up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate over night. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Preheat the broiler or barbecue. If you are broiling the shanks, broil slowly, at least 12-inches away from the heat. If barbecuing, grill on low heat. In both cases, cook the shanks, turning to brown all sides until the shanks are crusty and brown on the outside.

Chef Karen Barnaby has helped shape the evolving face of the Vancouver food scene with her extensive work in the city's kitchens and food media.
 She has been executive chef at the acclaimed Fish House restaurant since 1995.
Karen is a regular food columnist for the Vancouver Sun and is the author of several cookbooks. She is also currently working with Intercity Packers as our featured chef.