{Basque Stage} Braised Lamb Shank, Goat Cheese Beet Ravioli & Confit Root Vegetables

As some of you may know, I am applying to the Basque Stage Sammic Rising Stars Scholarship. If I win, I get to do a 3-month stage at Xarma restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain! If you follow my blog, you probably already know about my addiction to food and experiencing new cultures, and how excited I get when I can combine the two! As part of my application, I had to create a dish to share. I wanted my dish to represent who I am, as well as my style of cooking.

Lamb-Beet-Ravioli-ConfitFor my Basque Stage application, I wanted to show my French and Italian family heritage, but also my Colorado personality. A big part of food in Colorado is eating seasonally. I wanted to show the brightness and freshness that can be in season even in the winter time. With such great seasonal food in Colorado, I really wanted to let each ingredient shine. As many of you know I am a line cook at The Kitchen {Next-Door} in Boulder, which is “a restaurant built by a community of craftsman, serving food & drink from a community of like-minded farmers, ranchers and purveyors for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community – including staff.  Being a Community Bistro also includes our commitment to environmentally-friendly practices.” Between work here, Salt Bistro, Morimoto and Whole Foods, I have developed an enormous amount of love and respect for farm-to-table (or sea-to-table in Hawaii!), sustainable and seasonal food. I recently was able to observe demos for whole pig and whole lamb fabrications, which made my respect for the animals grow even more. It is truly amazing the amount of things you can do, head to toe, with each animal.

lamb-wholelamb-fabricatedTo incorporate all of my beliefs and passion into one outstanding dish I created Braised Lamb Shank with Goat Cheese Beet Ravioli and Confit Root Vegetables. I dressed the ravioli with a Rosemary Buerre Blanc and topped the Lamb Shank with Gremolata. I love all of the color in this dish; what a great meal to brighten up any cold winter day! Note that it is best to make the beet pasta dough and roasted beets a day in advance for this recipe.

Fortifying-StockTo begin this dish, I fortified veal stock with extra aromatics. This is a great way to get a more elevated flavor from your sauces. Begin by sauteing mirepoix, garlic, shallot and various herbs. Add your stock to this mixture and let reduce until your desired flavor is reached. This can be done ahead of time and saved for future dishes.

Lamb-Shank-FrenchedOnce you have your fortified stock, you can begin braising your lamb shanks. These take multiple hours to cook, so it is good to start this first. Start by Frenching the top of each shank; Frenching means to remove part of the meat around the top of the bone to expose a clean bone. Remember that the shanks will shrink quite a bit, so you only want to remove a small amount of the meat.


Next, brown your shanks in a hot dutch oven or oven-safe pot. Next add mirepoix and herbs, saute, then add your stock. Now you are ready to cover and braise your shanks in a 350 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for about 2 or 2 1/2 hours.

Buerre-BlancOnce your shanks are cooking, you can work of the rest of your meal. I like to get the sauce out of the way first because they can always be reheated and it lets the flavors develop more. See below for all of the recipes; this sauce was a Rosemary Buerre Blanc. This can also be made the day before if desired.

Confit-VegetablesNext, I melted my duck fat and added lemon zest, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper for my confit vegetables. Be sure to keep the confit at a very low simmer so that your vegetables don’t burn or shrivel up. I chose to confit carrots and golden beets. These can go anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours depending on your desired level of doneness. For the best flavor, season the vegetables with salt and pepper after removing from the fat. These can be cooled and reheated to serve if desired.


The final component to this dish is probably the most tedious, making the beet ravioli. Like I mentioned earlier, I made the beet pasta dough and roasted beets a day in advance (see below for recipes). While my shanks were cooking I put together my ravioli filling, which consisted of roast beets, goat cheese, mascarpone cheese, herbs and an egg yolk.


I rolled the dough out and built my raviolis with about 1 tablespoon of filling in each. It is important that you roll your dough very thin so that the pasta is not chewy, but be careful that they do not fall apart in the water. I like to have more filling in my ravioli and less of an outer rim.

Beet-RavioliAfter your ravioli are ready, you can reheat your Rosemary Buerre Blanc and serve the ravioli as an appetizer. Alternatively, you can save them to plate with your main dish like I did.

Lamb-Shank-GlazedWhen the lamb shanks are tender, remove the shanks and liquid from the pot; keep warm. Deglaze the pot with a small amount of white wine, then add the liquid back to the pot. Reduce the remaining sauce into a glaze, then return the shanks to the pot and coat with the glaze. Since my stock was fortified so well, I didn’t have to add any additional seasonings to the glaze, but be sure to season to taste before finishing the glaze.

Lamb-Beet-Ravioli-Confit-CloseTo serve, place one shank topped with gremolata, three ravioli, and confit vegetables for each person. Sit back and enjoy a bright, seasonal meal on a cold winter day!


Fortified Stock:

Yields 1 3/4 quarts

  • 1/4 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 5 sprigs parsley
  • 2 qts veal stock
  1. Saute the carrot, celery and onion in a small amount of oil (2 minutes).
  2. Add the garlic and shallot; continue to saute (2 minutes).
  3. Add the bay leaf and other herbs and saute until aromatic (1 minute).
  4. Add 2 quarts of veal/beef stock and simmer to reduce to desired taste.

Note: I recommend reducing to 1 3/4 quarts.

Roasted Beets:

Yields about 1 cup

  • 2 red beets, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Toss beets in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Wrap in tin foil and roast until tender (about 30 minutes).

Note: You will only need two beets roasted for this recipe but feel free to roast as many as you would like!

Beet Pasta Dough:

Yields about 2 pounds (about 4 servings of ravioli)

  • 1/4 cup roasted beets
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz semolina flour
  • 20 oz all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Puree roasted beets (including the oil they were roasted in) and eggs in a blender until completely smooth.
  2. Mix beet mixture, flour, salt and pepper with a paddle attachment in stand-alone mixer until the dough begins to come together.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment and run on high until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more all-purpose flour if needed. Make sure that the dough is not too dry, additional flour can always be added when rolling out the dough.
  4. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 1 hour up to a couple days.

Note: If you do not have a stand-alone mixer, no problem! Combine the dry ingredients and form a mound on the table. Then, make a well in the center of the flour and pour the wet ingredients in, continuing to knock small amounts of the flour into the liquid until a paste is formed. Once the liquid is mostly absorbed, begin kneading and forming the dough; knead until smooth and elastic.

Braised Lamb Shanks:

Yields 4 servings

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 (1 lb) lamb shanks, Frenched and seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 3/4 quart fortified veal/beef stock (see recipe above)
  • 2 stalks rosemary
  • 5 stalks parsley
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Heat olive oil over high heat in a large dutch oven, or other oven-safe pot.
  3. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides.
  4. Add the carrots, onion and celery and saute until softened (5 minutes).
  5. Add the stock and herbs and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover and braise in 350F oven until tender, flipping and basting every 30 minutes (about 2 1/2 hours).
  7.  When tender, remove the shanks and liquid from the pot; keep warm.
  8. Deglaze the pot with the white wine, then add the liquid back to the pot.
  9. Reduce the remaining sauce into a glaze, season to taste, then return the shanks to the pot and coat with the glaze.
  10. Top with gremolata to serve (see recipe below).


Yields 1/4 cup

  • 2 tbsp parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons, zested
  1. Combine all ingredients to top lamb shanks.

Rosemary Buerre Blanc:

Yields 1/2 cup

  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1/4 lb whole butter
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Saute the garlic and shallot in 1 tbsp olive oil until fragrant (2 minutes).
  2. Add the rosemary and parsley and toss.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and lemon juice; cook down by half.
  4. Whisk in the butter a little at a time to form an emulsified sauce.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Confit Root Vegetables:

Yields 4 servings

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 5 parsley stems
  • 1 quart duck fat
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • salt & pepper
  • 12 small golden beets, peeled
  • 8 small carrots, peeled
  1. Saute garlic in a very small amount of olive oil until fragrant.
  2. Add herbs and saute quickly.
  3. Add duck fat, lemon zest, salt and pepper and bring barely to a simmer.
  4. Add beets and carrots and cook until desired level of doneness (30 minutes for al dente, 1 1/2 hours for soft).

Note: Do NOT allow the duck fat to come to a boil; it will cause the vegetables to shrink and/burn.

Beet Ravioli:

Yields 4 servings

  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 2 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tbsp shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 lbs (32 oz) beet pasta dough (see recipe above)
  • flour, for rolling out dough
  1. For the filling, beat together cheeses, shallots, garlic, herbs and yolk until smooth; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Roll out the pasta dough, 4 oz at a time while keeping other pasta wrapped, as thin as possible (less than 1/16″).
  3. Cut out circles with a mold (I used a 3-inch mold first, then cut 2-inch circles after the ravioli were built).
  4. Place 1 tbsp filling in each ravioli, then wet the edges before topping with an additional layer of pasta. Be sure to seal the dough well while leaving as little air inside as possible.
  5. Repeat until all pasta and/or filling is used.

Note: The ravioli can be made about 30 minutes to 1 hour ahead of time, but be gentle when handling to boil.

To serve:

For each plate, place a small amount of glaze on the plate and top with a lamb shank. Sprinkle 1 tbsp gremolata over each shank. Next, layer 3 ravioli across and top with rosemary buerre blanc. Finish with confit vegetables, mirco greens and a lemon wedge.


Thank you all for supporting me and following my blog for so long. I have truly found my passion and peace of mind in food and hope that I can continue sharing, inspiring and teaching you all; while learning so much myself. I love hearing from you all and appreciate your support, please share with all your friends and loved ones and show that I deserve to win this scholarship! You are all the best!


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9 Responses to {Basque Stage} Braised Lamb Shank, Goat Cheese Beet Ravioli & Confit Root Vegetables

  1. Nick Martini says:

    Jenny has always been one of the hardest workers I know. Her determination for success is unparalleled. Good luck!

  2. Will Morris says:

    Great dish! very unique! I highly recommend this to anybody trying to impress with their cuisine. Jenny is one of the most dedicated culinary artists I have ever encountered. 5/5

  3. What an incredibly beautiful dish this is, and so perfectly seasonal for late fall in Colorado. I’ve seen your passion not just for good food, but for combining interesting flavors, grow tremendously in the past two years. It’s no surprise why just about every restaurant you look to work in is thrilled to have you. the Basque experience would not only be great for you, but you would be able to contribute to them. I hope you get it!!!!

  4. Lisa Meyette says:

    You are so passionate and creative with your cooking. Every detail of this dish is planned out perfectly. What a beautiful meal. Anyone would be lucky to have you.

  5. Sharon Mehrtens says:

    This looks Devine! I would enthusiastically order this at a fine dining restaurant.

  6. julian lello says:

    awesome stuff jenny, anyone this passionate about what they do deserves a chance to showcase their abilities on a world class stage. best of luck.
    do you deliver ??

  7. Lisa Stover says:

    Fabulous recipe. Cooking with local ingredients is the way to go. Jenny always provides a thoughtful, interesting and creative spin on her recipes.

  8. Joy says:

    The dish looks so lovely. I especially like the beets.

  9. Kimby says:

    Jenny, I truly hope you win the scholarship! Your food, flavors, finesse, and culinary artistry are a joy to behold.