Recipe from Bon Appétit Entertaining Made Easy, March 2004.
If an herbs de Provence blend isn’t available, use a combination of dried thyme, basil, savory, and fennel seeds. Dried porcini mushrooms can be found at Italian markets, specialty foods stores, and many supermarkets.
Fresh parsley and leeks tend to be infested with aphids, thrips and other insects. Please check “Special Instructions” below for insect inspection instructions.
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 large whole garlic cloves
6 large lamb shanks (12 to 14 ounces each)
All purpose flour
2 2/3 cups dry red wine
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons dried herbs de Provence
1 1/4 pounds slender carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-long pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy wide pot over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic; sauté until leeks soften, about 5 minutes. Transfer leek mixture to small bowl.
Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper; dust with flour to coat. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook until brown, turning occasionally, about 12 minutes. Add leek mixture, wine, tomatoes with puree, mushrooms, herbs de Provence, and carrots. Stir to coat lamb with vegetable mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until lamb is very tender, turning twice, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until sauce reduces slightly, about 10 minutes longer. Spoon off fat from pan juices. Season lamb to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm, covered, over low heat before serving.) Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Insect Inspection of Parsley
Fresh parsley (as well as the following herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme) are often used as spices or garnishing. Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of these herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.
Curly leaf parsley is very difficult to check. It is therefore recommended that only flat leaf parsley be used.
Vegetable spinners, power hoses, and light boxes are not always available in the home. We therefore recommend the following alternate procedure.
1. Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
2. Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.
3. Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
4. Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
5. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
6. If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.
Leeks and Scallions:
Light green or brown thrips may occasionally be found between the branches of scallions and leeks where they protrude from the bulb. Less frequently, they can be found crawling on the outside or inside of the long green shoots.
1. A vertical cut should be made from the top of the scallion or leek to the bottom of the bulb. Examine three scallions or leeks, paying careful attention to the area between the branches that protrude from the bulb.
2. If no insects are found, wash thoroughly under a heavy stream of water or power hose and use.
3. If insects are found in leeks or scallions the entire bunch must be checked. The affected scallion or leek must be discarded.