Lamb Shanks

Every first Friday of the month, except for July when our Basque club has it’s picnic, we have a dinner open to the public.  We always serve lamb chops and I alternate chicken, pork, albondigas (meatballs) and fish for the other meat.  We also have lamb shanks, lamb ribs or lamb stew along with homemade soup, Basque rice, a vegetable, salad, homemade bread and desserts.  I never know how many people will show up, it could be 80 or 160 so I always try to prepare enough food and I always keep my fingers crossed. So far we have never run out…came close a few times but we have never run out.  There have been some mad dashes to the grocery store for more lettuce for the salad.

I made up this recipe from a couple of ones that I had tried and this recipe has become a regular on the menu.  I also use it for lamb ribs.  Lamb ribs can be fatty, but this combination goes really well with them. Don’t be alarmed of the large amount of lamb shanks pictured in the pan.  This was for the first Friday dinner and I made two large pans of shanks.

20130923-222320.jpglamb shanks

20130923-222341.jpgAdd minced garlic and chopped onion

20130923-222406.jpgAdd sliced carrots, can of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 can of beer, cup of red wine, salt and pepper to taste.

20130923-222419.jpgCook at 350 degrees for about 4  hours.  This is an approximate. It may be more or less depending on your stove.

You just want to slow roast them.


Lamb Shanks

4 to 6 lamb shanks

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion chopped

3 carrots peeled and sliced

1-28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 can of beer

1 cup red wine

salt and pepper to taste

Put a little oil in the bottom of a roasting pan or a large dutch oven.  Add shanks, garlic, onion, carrots, tomatoes, beer, wine, salt and pepper.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees approximately 4  hours.  This may be more or less.


Basque Salad Dressing

The Woolgrower Hotel in Los Banos, California is a family style Basque Restaurant. You will be seated at red checkered oil cloth covered tables with other diners. This time of year at lunch there will be men in camouflage that have been duck hunting in the nearby duck club. It is a place that we try to go to when we are visiting family in the Central Valley in California. You have your choice of entrees: pork chops, roast lamb, roasted chicken, steak, lamb chops, etc. It varies slightly especially if they run out of a popular item. There is always a lot of food and it comes out from the kitchen fast…so pace yourself if you happen to go there. First course is homemade vegetable soup, bread and beans, next comes lettuce salad with the most fabulous dressing ever. Then lamb stew and sometimes potato salad. Your entree follows along with french fries. There are bottles of house wine included with your meal. Dessert is dry Jack cheese and ice cream in a plastic cup. Please don’t ask for mint jelly if you go…this is a Basque restaurant. Also, you can ask the server for a plastic bag to take home your leftover entree. I have yet gone and not taken home half of my entree. Another note…they only take cash…no credit cards or checks. I checked the reviews on Yelp and some people complained about the ambiance. This isn’t a fancy restaurant this is a family style restaurant with good simple food at a reasonable price ($20+ tip). If you leave there hungry it is your own fault.

My husband and I have tried to copy the salad dressing that they serve with the lettuce. Through trial and error we came up with something similar…but not quite. I have had friends tell me that it tastes just like it, but I think it tastes “almost” like it.

Here is our recipe…

Basque Salad Dressing
1 1/3 cup cider vinegar
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced or double pressed
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups canola oil
2 cups Best Foods mayonnaise
pinch of black pepper


In a bowl that will allow easy whisking, add garlic to the vinegar. Whisk vigorously. Let sit a few minutes.

Whisk in salt, sugar, dry mustard and dash of pepper to vinegar in bowl. Blend ingredients.


Vigorously whisk in oil and then add mayonnaise. 20130220-205004.jpg

Here is the finished product. It will keep for a month in the refrigerator. Just shake it before use as it separates.