Parmesan braised Australian boneless lamb leg on polenta
5 Boneless Australian lamb shank, dried, cut into 3 or 4 pieces and fat scored
2.25 kg of quality Parmesan cheese rind
3 cups of finely micro planed or grated quality Parmesan cheese
6 bay leaves
6 large carrots, washed and split, cut in large chunks
1 ½ large celery stalks, washed, cut into large chunks
1 cup of tomato paste
4 large yellow onion, diced
2 heads of garlic, peeled into cloves and minced
2 bottles of white wine for cooking
8 cups of finely milled yellow polenta
2 Liters of whole milk
2 Liters of water
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
5 Tablespoons of kosher salt
2 Tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
1 bunch of scallion, sliced thin, white part and green tops
4 Fresno chili, seeds removed, membrane and meat sliced completely out leaving
only the skin, julienned hair thin and dropped in ice water to curl
Make sure you turn on your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit if you do not have a large burner and pot with lid for braising otherwise, this recipe can be executed in a large braising pan with a lid salt and pepper the lamb heavily and place in large braising pot on medium heat, fat down to start coloration and browning of the meat. DO NOT BURN.
Make sure all sides of the meat are browned and fat has started to caramelize. Remove and let cool and reduce heat of pan slightly so bits on bottom do not burn in this transition of ingredients.
Place the carrots, celery and 3 diced onions (retain 1 diced onion for polenta) into the hot pan with the lamb bits and turn heat back up to medium stirring occasionally.
In a separate large braising pot, slowly start to boil milk and water with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and 2 bay leaves.
Check on your veggie mixture cooking, the onions should start to be turning translucent along with the celery, some of it should be browning, if so, it is time to add the tomato paste and increase the heat to medium-high. Stir this mixture rapidly with the tomato paste, browning and
“painting” your veggies red and caramelizing all the flavor.
Take this mix to the limit of burning and then deglaze with the two bottles of white wine. Add 2 bay leaves, parmesan rinds and the lamb shanks back to this pot and turn the head down to just ABOVE LOW. COVER and leave a slight crack for moisture to escape. Allow to cook for 2 hours before peeking. If you are braiding in oven transfer all ingredients at this point into braiding pans, use foil to cover and let braise for around the same timing. Remove cover at 1 hour and 45 for oven cooking and allow to cook for 15 minutes uncovered.
The milk and water should be boiling, add the polenta and turn down to lowest setting and diligently stir slowly. Be patient, this will take a while, but your polenta will be so smoother than Fonzie.
Taste your polenta after 20 minutes of stirring, it should be cooked and not gritty. Add two cups of parmesan and the olive oil. Stir and let cool off heat.
Spread the last 1 cup of parmesan on a silicone pad and palce in oven for 15 minutes. When you smell the nutty toasty smell, it is ready. Remove and let cool.
If you have not cut your scallion and Fresno chili garnishes now is a good time to do so.
Check your lamb. It should be almost falling apart and still juicy. Remove all the meat, place in a medium, plastic container so it does not continue to retain heat, strain braiding juices over the meat chunks and let cool for about 15 minutes.
Double glove up or use two pairs of tongs and start to shred the lamb into bite sized pieces, keeping it in the juice. Taste it, use salt if you need to.
On a large plate, put a about ½ cup of polenta in the center and make a crater for the lamb to sit in, put the lamb in there, put some of its juices over the lamb. Garnish with the now crispy parmesan from the silicone pad, sliced and curled Fresno chili and the sliced scallion.