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Braised Lamb Shank on Ratatouille Provincial

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Ingredients for Lamb Shanks:
6 domestic lamb shanks, pre-trimmed
6 shallots, peeled, minced
1 carrot, peeled, sliced thick
1 cup of dry white wine
2 quarts of veal stock
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 sprig of thyme, 2 leaves laurel
2 cloves of garlic, peeled, minced
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions for Lamb Shanks:
Season the shanks on all sides, set aside, outside cooler. In a large, deep sauté pan, over high heat, add oil. Sear shanks on all sides until well brown, set aside. Lower heat, add tyme, laurel, carrot, shallots, garlic, sauté until tender (but not done all the way). Return the shanks to the pan. Deglaze with white wine and veal stock. Cover. Bring back to a boil, and then place in a 450 F oven. Let braise for about 2 hours until very tender. Remove shanks and set aside. Strain the stock and put it back in the pan. Let it reduce until it thickens. Adjust the seasoning.

Ingredients for Ratatouille:
1 large eggplant, cut in large cubes
2 green zucchinis, 1 yellow zucchini, cut in large cubes
3 Spanish onions sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, cut in wide slices
6 tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
4oz V8 Juice
1 sprig of thyme, 2 leaves of laurel, 1 tablespoon of herbs of Provence
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 pinch of ground cumin
1 cup of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions for Ratatouille:
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, medium heat, until caramelized, set aside. Sauté eggplant, Zucchinis, Tomatoes in the same oil as used for onions, under a high heat until "al dente". Season with salt and pepper. Transfer all ingredients, cooked and not yet cooked (peppers, herbs, V8, etc.*) in a heavy pan. Let simmer, stirring often, until texture is somewhat thick. Add cumin towards the end.

Serve a good mound of ratatouille on a large serving plate. Place the shank right on the ratatouille. The weight will spread things around. Pour a little of the reduced stock over the shank.