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Nickel & Nickel
Dragonfly Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon,
St. Helena, Napa Valley
Ingredients (Serves 4)
RED WINE-BRAISED LAMB SHANKS
FENNEL SPICE MIX
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Rub the lamb shanks with flour and season with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron pan to medium-high heat, then add butter and grapeseed oil. Brown the lamb shanks for five minutes on all sides or until deep golden-brown in color. Transfer to a casserole dish. In the same pan, add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for five minutes, then deglaze with the red wine. Bring the wine to a simmer, then add the beef broth. Bring to a simmer again, then pour the mixture over the lamb shanks. Add the bay leaf, parsley and thyme and cover tightly with foil or a lid. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until fork-tender.
In a small sauce pot, add the quinoa and cover with two cups of water. Season with a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes. Shut off the heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let stand for five minutes.
Fennel Spice Mix
In a small saute pan, toast the whole spices (fennel, coriander, mustard, white pepper and anise) for one minute, or until they begin to release their oils. Let the spices cool, then grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Store the remaining mixture in a tightly sealed container for up to one month. This spice mix also goes great with fish or chicken.
Preheat oven to 425 F. On a baking pan, lay down the cauliflower florets and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and the fennel spice mixture and combine well. Bake for seven minutes or until crisp at the edges and tender. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, parsley, scallions, roasted cauliflower, fennel spice, salt and lemon juice. Check the seasoning and add more fennel spice, salt or lemon juice if desired.
Before plating, remove the lamb shanks from the braising liquid, set aside and keep warm. Strain the liquid and discard vegetable solids, then transfer the liquid into a saucepot. Reduce the liquid over medium-high heat until it reaches sauce consistency. Taste for seasoning. Distribute a generous amount of the quinoa-cauliflower “tabbouleh” between four plates. Top each plate with a lamb shank and glaze with a spoonful of the reduction sauce. Enjoy with a glass of Nickel & Nickel Dragonfly Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.