Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash: Braised Lamb Shanks with Lemon Confit and Sweet Pearl Onions

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

I love this time of year. Not only is November home of Thanksgiving and my birthday—the two greatest dessert experiences per annum—but it's finally, definitely, and indisputably cold. While others pull out cashmere scarves and fleece-lined gloves, I pull out the enamel stew pots. It's braising season.

These sweet-tart lamb shanks fall of the bone with the prick of an eager fork. Tender, but bright, they don't lull the taste buds to sleep like many another seasonal stew. The meat is braised with windowpanes of garlic, dry white wine, rosemary, and lemon confit. Roasted pearl onions add a delicate, earthy sweetness that complements the deep citrus acidity of the lemon. The result is still comforting, with the braised, autumnal texture, but the flavor is pert and unexpected.

French food is not just about lavender and tarragon. I learned very early from Mémé, who grew up in Casablanca, that French food is heavily influenced by the many different spots that France tried to colonize. Merguez-frites is to the streets of Paris what hot dogs are to New York. Couscous is commonplace, and harissa is like ketchup. So, I thought I'd spice up a typical cottage dish by adding the Meghrébin staple of lemon confit, or preserved lemons. As I mentioned, they are a punch in the mouth—one that you'll enjoy.

Serve this with couscous for that French-Moroccan touch, with warm, torn baguette for a cottage feel, or warm white beans for a bit of French tradition.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.


Roasting the onions.

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