Roast Lamb with Medjool Date Sauce
Wine Pairing: Red Zinfindel, Bordeaux
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 lamb shanks
1 large white onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
6 celery ribs, chopped
10 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded with ribs removed, chopped
2 T. garlic, minced
1 T. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 T. cumin
½ t. cayenne
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups red wine
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush lamb shanks with ¼ cup oil. Place lamb shanks in a large roasting pan. Brown lamb in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat remaining ½ cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, bell pepper and celery and sauté 4-5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add wine and cook, 2 minutes. Add stock and seasonings. Bring to gentle boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Add lamb to pot. Cover and simmer for one hour. Remove lid. Add dates and simmer for additional 30 minutes.
Remove lamb and set aside. Skim fat off top of liquid in pot. Transfer contents of pot to blender, discarding bay leaves. Puree until sauce is smooth. If necessary, add stock to thin to desired consistency. Add sauce back to pot. Add lamb and simmer additional 20 minutes or until meat is loose from bone but remains intact.