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Tangy Braised Lamb Shanks

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Ingredients:

2 Ancho chilies
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 lamb shanks
2 medium white onions, halved
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons Piloncillo, Mexican hard sauce
4 cups garlic, minced
3/8 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
28 ounces tomato, whole peeled
3/4 cup beef stock
4 bay leaf
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
romaine lettuce, shredded
black olives, pitted

Directions:

Place chilies in small bowl with boiling water, let stand 1 hour. Heat lard or oil in Dutch oven over med. heat until hot. Add 2 lamb shanks. Cook turning often, until brown on all sides about 20 minutes. Remove to plate. Repeat.

Place chilies and 1/3 cup of the soaking liquid in a blender and process until smooth. Discard remaining soaking liquid. Remove and discard all but 2 tablespoons oil from Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté' over medium heat about 4 minutes or until soft. Reduce heat to med-low and stir in raisins, sugar, garlic, oregano and cumin. Add chili puree and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, stock and bay leaves to pan. Heat to boiling. Add lamb shanks and simmer over low heat, covered, turning occasionally until lamb is very, very tender--about 2 to 2/12 hours/ 6. Remove lamb to serving platter and keep warm. Skim and discard fat from cooking sauce. Stir in vinegar. Heat sauce to boiling over med.-high heat and cook uncovered, stirring frequently until sauce is thickened--about 10 minutes. Spoon sauce over lamb. Serve, garnished with lettuce and olives (Maybe even some quartered tomatoes).

Accompany with Refried Beans garnished as desired with shredded cheese and diced white onions. I recommend with shanks that you clean them as well as possible of as much fat as possible plus that white membrane. Don't remove all the membrane, however, as something has to hold them together.

Makes 4 servings

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