Califonia Bountiful
Main Dish

Maple bourbon braised lamb shanks with white cheddar grits and pecan horseradish gremolata

Chef Daniel England pulls out all the stops with this decadent, Southern-inspired entrée. We're talking white cheddar grits, but fancy! A bite of brightness from the gremolata keeps your senses alert and enjoying every last bite.

Chef Daniel England
OMG Hospitality Group, San Diego

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Maple bourbon braised lamb shanks
6 lamb hind shanks
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, for seasoning
All-purpose flour, to coat lamb
Vegetable oil, for searing
2 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup bourbon
3 cups beef broth
1 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. minced rosemary
1 tbsp. minced sage

White cheddar grits
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 lb. coarse ground yellow grits
1/2 lb. white cheddar, shredded
1/2 lb. unsalted butter

Pecan horseradish gremolata
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp. prepared horseradish (add more as desired)
Zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced


For lamb: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat lamb shanks dry. Season generously with salt and pepper. Coat evenly in flour; pat off any excess.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom evenly. Working in batches, sear shanks on all sides until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, celery, onions and garlic to oil and sauté until softened. Deglaze pan with bourbon, using a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan.

Add remaining ingredients and return shanks to pan. Add water if needed to ensure shanks are three-quarters covered by liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn off heat. Cover and transfer pan to preheated oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender and falling off the bone, checking every 45 minutes.

Remove shanks from liquid and let rest. Strain cooking liquid, return liquid to pan and place over high heat. Reduce liquid by half. (If you wish, add butter or heavy cream to finish the sauce.)

For grits: In a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, add stock, cream and garlic. Bring to a simmer. Add grits and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until a porridge-like consistency. Fold in cheese and butter and mix until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

For gremolata: Combine parsley, pecans, thyme, horseradish, lemon zest and garlic.

To serve: Place lamb shanks on top of grits. Ladle sauce over top and let it spread across the plate. Sprinkle gremolata on top and serve.

Serves 4 to 6

Photo: © 2021 Walter Wilson

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