Earlier this year, I gave up gluten (with the exception of beer). I have a gluten intolerance not full-blown Celiac disease, so a few beers didn’t seem to irritate my tummy and kept me sane (and married, my husband is an avid home brewer).
A few weeks after starting my gluten-free experiment, I felt reborn. It was as if the surgery gods gave me a shinny brand-new tummy. Not only did I feel better physically, but my head also seemed clearer.
In light of this experiment, I’ve stayed gluten-free for the better part of the year. Yes, I still miss sourdough baguettes and real pizza (none of this fake flour shit), but it’s all worth it, which got me wondering if eliminating something else like dairy would have a similar effect.
This led Chris, my husband, and I to begin a 30-day experiment: the Paleo Diet consisting of:
- No Dairy
- No Legumes
- No Gluten or Grains (this time beer is out)
- No Excess Sugar
What’s left to eat? Pretty much Meat, Vegetables, and Fruit <sigh>.
We are on day 4 and minus a few cranky periods in the beginning things are going pretty well. Although, I am recovering from a nasty 3 tissue boxes in one-day cold, so things should be looking even brighter (but poor Chris now has it). I’ve heard the real benefits kick in around week two, so stay tuned for updates!
In the meantime, going from holiday meal after holiday meal to chicken and brussels sprouts was a little jarring. We needed something rich, but still Paleo, and Lamb Shanks was the perfect combination. Rich, flavorful, and fit for a king. Paired next to sweet potatoes and swiss chard, this meal made us forget that we had to give anything up for our 30-day plan!
Braised Lamb Shanks with Juniper Berries and Rosemary adapted from ICE Culinary
You will need:
~ 4 lamb shanks, have the butcher cut each into 2-inch pieces (I forgot to do this as you can tell by the photos)
~ Canola or olive oil
~ ½ cup carrot, diced
~ ½ cup celery, diced
~ ½ cup onion, diced
~ 2 tablespoons crushed juniper berries
~ 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 2 tbsp minced
~ 4 cups beef stock
~ 2 tbsp tomato paste
~ ¼ cup minced parsley
~ 1 to 2 cups dry red wine
~ bouquet garni (a cheesecloth filled with 3 thyme sprigs, 2 parsley sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs, and 5 peppercorns)
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of a large skillet (oven proof and has a cover) with oil. Heat oil over high heat and brown all sides of the lamb shanks (about 3 minutes per side). Remove shanks and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add 3 tbsp oil. Add carrots, celery, onions, and juniper berries. Sauté until lightly browned (about 6 minutes). Add wine to deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom with a metal spatula. Bring mixture to a boil and then remove from heat. Add rosemary sprigs, beef stock, bouquest garni, and tomato paste. Put lamb shanks on top of the vegetables. At this point, the liquid should come half way up the shanks. If not, add more wine. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Make sure to stir occasionally.
When done (lamb should be hanging on the bone), remove shanks and keep warm (I put them in a big container with a lid). To make the sauce, strain liquid in skillet through a fine mesh strainer. Press down on the vegetables to expel all of the juices. Return the juices to the skillet and bring to a boil. Once boiling let simmer for about 20 minutes. The sauce should thicken and reduce in half.
Pour sauce over lamb shanks and season with 2 tbsp minced rosemary, salt and pepper. If your lamb shanks were cut, then serve 2 per person.