Lamb shank braised in stout gravy

Guinness stout gives this winter dish its rich flavor.

leg of lamb 311 (photo credit: Danya Weiner / Fresh Flavors from Israel)
leg of lamb 311
(photo credit: Danya Weiner / Fresh Flavors from Israel)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds or 1 tablespoon ground2 tablespoons fennel seeds or 1 tablespoon ground1 tablespoon black peppercorns or 1 tablespoon ground4 large lamb shanks (1 to 1-1/2 pounds each)Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperExtra-virgin olive oil1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces3 celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths2 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths1 small leek, halved, sliced crosswise, and washed well6 garlic cloves, peeled3 bay leaves, preferably fresh1 (16-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juices or other canned whole tomatoes1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste3 cups dry red wine4 cups low-sodium beef broth4 (12-ounce) bottles Guinness stout1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves5 fresh marjoram sprigs1 bunch baby carrots
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a small, heavy skillet. Toast over medium-high heat until the seeds are aromatic and slightly darker, about 2 minutes.
2. Transfer to a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind to a fine powder. Alternatively, just mix the ground spices together. Rub each shank with a generous teaspoon of the spice blend and sprinkle with salt.
3. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, wide, heavy pot over high heat. Add the shanks and brown on all sides, turning often, about 15 minutes. Remove the shanks from the pan.
4. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the same pot, then add the onions, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, and bay leaves. Saute over high heat until the vegetables start to soften and take on some color, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, (crushing them by hand), tomato paste, and red wine.
5. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes over high heat. Add the beef broth and Guinness, then return the seared lamb shanks to the pot, nestling them into the liquid. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer, then cover the pot and slide it into the oven.
6. Braise the shanks for 2 1/2 hours total, adding the thyme and marjoram to the pot after 2 hours. The lamb should be tender and falling away from the bone.
7. While the shanks braise, place the carrots on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nearly tender.
8. Transfer the shanks to a plate, then strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve (optional) . Return the sauce and shanks to the pot to combine. Serve with the gravy and the carrots.