Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks are very tasty and preparation here is pretty simple in a tomato sauce known in Greek as kokinisto (red sauce)

Ingredients 

4 lamb shanks (extra fat can be trimmed out).

1 small onion diced

1 carrot diced

1 celery stock diced

4 garlic cloves slivered

1 cup chicken or beef stock

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes 

1 cup red wine 

Pinch of dried oregano, and thyme  

Course salt

Fresh ground black pepper 

Handful of kalamata olives pitted and chopped (optional)

Olive oil

Method

Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper, thyme and oregano. Preheat oven at 375. In a Dutch oven over medium high heat on stove top, splash some olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, carrot and garlic, after a few minutes put in lamb shanks and sear on all sides turning every minute. Deglaze pan with the red wine while scraping bottom with wooden spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients..  should almost be completely covered in liquid. Cover and transfer to preheated oven. Cook for about an hour and a half.

When done taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt if needed but remember the olives are salty and I prefer to use a no salt stock. The consistency of the sauce shouldn’t be too think and it’s fine that it’s oily … but if you prefer thicker just boil on stove for a few minutes after removing shanks. The meat should fall off the bone.

Serve over pasta, rice or roasted vegetables, crusty bread and a full bodied red wine.

Enjoy and please give me your feedback.

Thanks again for visiting my blog

Jim


Calzone

I love calzone as much as I like pizza, it’s a pizza that’s filled, kinda like a pizza pocket or a closed pizza. Sometimes these are called a Panzarotti which is the kind that is sometimes deep fried. Make it yourself and you will be amazed how easy and fun, besides tasty. This is something that takes a bit of time, so it’s a good Saturday or Sunday afternoon fun, get the kids involved, they love rolling out the dough.

Ingredients:
For the Dough:
3 ½ cups of All Purpose unbleached Flour
1 cup fine semolina flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp of active dry yeast
Extra flour for rolling out dough

Note: if using whole wheat flour, add a tiny bit more salt and a bit more water.

Put the warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and allow for yeast to foam for about 5-7 minutes. In a large bowl sift both flours, flax and salt, make a well in the flour and pour in the olive oil, foamy water and mix with a wooden spoon, or a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix dough until it comes together. Begin kneading the dough on a liberally floured surface. If dough is too wet keep adding flour until dough becomes soft and stretchy ( knead for about 10 min.). Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a wet tea towel or plastic wrap, allow dough to rise for at least one hour in a warm place. Prepare filling ingredients while dough is proofing.

Punch down dough on a floured surface, knead dough for few more minutes. Cut dough into four equal balls or three equal balls for three large calzones, put dough balls back in oiled bowl and cover again until ready to roll out.

Roll out dough ball one at a time on lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to about 10 inch diameter like pizza put filling as a topping only on half the pizza, (see below for filling suggestions) fold over other side to make a half moon, crimp the edges well to seal calzone. Using the point of a knife make a few holes in the top of calzone so steam can escape.

Heat pizza stone or tray to 400* and place calzone in centre of oven, cook for 15-20 minutes until dough is golden brown and remove from oven when done, allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot. When ready to eat a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh parsley or basil is a good option.

Suggested combinations for filling:

One large tablespoon per item, maybe two tablespoons for dominant topping or your favourite ingredient, I think it’s better to overfill than to under fill as once it cooks it will puff up and may seem hallow if under filled.

Passata tomato sauce with pinch oregano, salt and olive oil
Sliced fresh mushrooms
Mozzarella cheese grated
Chopped pancetta or ham

Marinated artichokes
Pickled pepperoncini peppers
Drained capers
Pesto sauce
Goat cheese
Sundries tomatoes

Sliced tomatoes
Bocconcini cheese
Fresh basil
Roasted red peppers
Pitted Kalamata olives
Olive oil

Passata tomato sauce
Broccoli florets
Fresh spinach leaves
Minced garlic
Sliced zucchini
Feta cheese

Small can tuna drained
Chopped celery
Aged cheddar cheese
Fresh dill

You could have a party, double or triple dough recipe and put out variety of toppings and let people make there own.

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Watercress and sardine salad

150 gr. arugula
100 gr. watercress
250 gr. mixed greens
Hand full large Kalamata olives
One tin sardines in water
Greek Olive oil to taste
Red wine vinegar to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch dried oregano preferably Greek
Loaf crusty bread, sliced

Drain water from sardines and place all ingredients in a bowl, top with sardines, drizzle with olive oil and the vinegar and serve with crusty bread.

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