4 large lamb shanks, cut into 1½ inch thick pieces (Your butcher should be able to slice the shanks for you. If not, whole shanks can be used for this recipe.)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
¼ cup flour
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP butter
3 carrots, ¼ inch dice
3 celery ribs, ¼ inch dice
1 large onion, ¼ inch dice
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
zest of one large lemon
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
4½ cups water
½ TBSP Kosher salt
1¼ cups yellow cornmeal
¾ cup grated parmesan
¾ cup whole milk, at room temperature
½ stick unsalted butter, cut onto smaller pieces
additional salt and pepper, if desired
For lamb: Pre-heat oven to 375°. Season shanks with salt and pepper and lightly dust with flour. Heat 1 TBSP of oil and 1 TBSP of butter in a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering. Brown the shanks in batches, about 4 minutes per side. Move shanks to a large, high-sided roasting pan or separate plate if using dutch oven.
Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining oil and butter to the skillet or dutch oven if needed. Stir in the carrots, celery, onion, crushed garlic and bay leaves and cook until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and then add the beef broth, tomatoes, thyme and rosemary. Bring just to a boil. Pour contents of skillet over the shanks (or if using dutch oven, nestle shanks in the bottom and spoon sauce over the top), cover the roasting pan with heavy aluminum foil (or dutch oven lid) and move to the oven. Braise for 2½ hours or until very tender.
While the shanks are braising, combine the gremolata ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to plate.
Transfer the shanks to a platter and cover loosely with foil. Strain the cooking liquid, reserving vegetables. Discard bay leaves, thyme and rosemary sprigs. Return cooking liquid to the roasting pan and boil, on stovetop, over high heat until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. If desired, season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and add reserved vegetables.
For polenta: In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add ½ TBSP salt. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal then reduce heat to low. Stir regularly until polenta thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese, milk and butter. Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.
Plate polenta with shanks on top, drizzle with sauce and cover with a small amount of gremolata. Serve extra gremolata on the side.