Irish-Inspired Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Okay, so I spent nearly the entire weekend researching my husband’s Irish roots, trying to figure out from which Irish city the Tobin’s hailed and seeking maybe a hint of the “why” they came to America.

I can trace his heritage for certain back as far as John’s great grandfather, Patrick Tobin, who came over on the boat either in 1851 or (more likely) in 1868, the same year he married Margaret Breen (I think!). It gets a little fuzzier after that, but I’m not done looking!

I’m prepping for our upcoming trip to Ireland where we’ll treck through Counties Waterford and Tipperary looking through tiny hamlets and Catholic church graveyards searching for Tobin (and Adair) headstones. I’m very excited about it and know that any Tobin we find (dead or alive) is at least a relative of some sort.

And, while we’re there (as we did last time), we’ll no doubt eat lamb, an offering much more common in Ireland than the States. Too bad, too, because lamb makes a wonderful dish and John and I both love it. Even our meat-picky daughter, Amie, is a fan of my slow-cooked lamb shanks. I fixed them Saturday.

Irish-Inspired Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

  • 2-4 bone-in lamb shanks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head garlic, minced.
  • 2 (14 oz.) canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 oz) beef stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine (cabernet or chianti)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 t. chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 T. dried)
  • 2-3 T tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Brown lamb shanks in heavy dutch oven in a little olive oil. Remove lamb shanks and keep warm. Cook onions, celery and carrots until soft (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes, stock, wine, bay leaves and rosemary. Cook until boiling. Lower to a simmer and add lamb shanks back into sauce. Simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally until meat is tender and ready to fall off of bone. Remove shanks and bay leaves, reserve sauce drained from vegetables. Discard vegetables and put sauce back on heat. Add tomato paste, stir over low heat until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Alternatively, you can just put sauce and veggies in food processor and blend until smooth.) Serve lamb and sauce with garlic mashed potatoes and a green veggie.


Amazing Leftover Steak Sandwiches

The older I get, the more it seems I hate waste. Still, being the foodie that I am, I’m not that big on leftovers. So, after having friends over for dinner recently, I had a huge piece of sirloin steak left and was tempted to just throw it out. But it was a nice piece of steak and my husband had purchased it at a local butcher–which meant it was costly, too. Hmmm.

So I thought about making a great sandwich out of the steak. . . it was a fabulous hit! My husband declared it “restaurant quality.” Here’s the recipe.

Amazing Leftover Steak Sandwiches

  • Left over steak, rare, sliced thin
  • 2 T. Butter
  • Small yellow onion, sliced thin
  • Red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 4-6 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic mayo
  • Provolone cheese slices
  • Ciabatta sandwich rolls

Preheat broiler. Melt butter in small skillet. Cook onion, garlic, red pepper and mushrooms until caramelized. Split sandwich rolls and toast under broiler. Remove from oven. Put garlic mayo on bottom half of roll and top with steak. Pile onion mixture on top bun and top with cheese. Put under broiler until cheese bubbles.

I served the sandwiches with Parmesan oven baked fries. Awesome!!