For the Braised Lamb Shanks:
In a large stock pot or braising pot, add the olive oil. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Season the flour with Essence. Dredge the lamb shanks in the seasoned flour, coating each side completely. When the oil is hot, sear the shanks for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until very brown on all sides. Remove the shanks and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen the browned particles. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, chicken broth, beef broth and reserved shanks and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, cover tightly and cook, turning the meat occasionally, until the meat is tender and falling from the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove bay leaves and serve with crusty bread or polenta.
Yield: 4 servings
For the Creamy Polenta:
In a large saucepan, bring the water, milk and butter to a boil. Add the salt to the water and whisk in the polenta. Whisk constantly for 3 to 4 minutes to prevent lumps. Simmer for 45 minutes, partially covered and stirring every 10 minutes, until the polenta is thick, smooth and creamy. Add the creme fraiche and Parmesan. Check for seasoning and adjust consistency by adding milk or water to the polenta. Polenta may be made up to 20 minutes ahead of time and kept covered until ready to serve.
Yield: 6 servings