When I prepare a meal like this, I am reminded of the days when I refrained from eating animals. I was boycotting a broken industrial meat system. A system with very little reverence for the complexity of life in every aspect. This was long ago, but even then I understood the unlikelyhood of gaining nourishment from an animal that wasn't nourished.
One evening in college, a friend of mine extended an invitation to join him and some friends for venison stew. He had taken the deer's life, and carefully prepared a meal from it, which he was offering to me. This struck me as an example of generosity in it's purest form. That meal was the fist bite of meat in 8 years. And it made me feel like a million bucks! The best realization was that I could resume eating meat while still maintaining my boycott. To this day I continue to refuse a broken system.
Every nourishing bite of local, carefully tended, grass fed flesh says "no" to one system and "yes" to another. Meat is not just meat. Protein is not just protein. There is a difference in quality and a difference in how it feeds us. There are stories behind meals. I like to think about the life story behind this evening's lamb. It lived well, gracefully passing the baton to me!
Braised Lamb Shanks with Cherries:
*2 local pastured lamb foreshanks
*1 tablespoon butter
*1 small onion, chopped
*sea salt and pepper
*1 cup pitted cherries
*1/4 cup red wine
Add butter to a heavy pot and place over medium high heat. Rinse lamb shanks and pat dry with paper towels. Sear all sides of shanks in pot until well browned. Set aside. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Return shanks to the pot and add enough water to cover. Season with salt and pepper. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cover and cook for at least 3 hours or longer. Allow to cool while starting on the cherry sauce.
In a small saucepan, bring wine and cherries to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced into a thick sauce (about 15 minutes), breaking up the cherries with a potato masher or similar tool while cooking down.
Spoon over lamb. Serve with a heap of fresh garden greens.