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DENVER — Zengo restaurant in Denver, is known now for its new test kitchen menu.  Every few months, the chefs at Zengo create new recipes inspired from one Latin country and one Asian country.

Today, they’re making us a dish that’s combining Mexico with Japan.

Braised Lamb Shank with Kabayaki Arroz Verde
(Serves 4)
4 lamb shanks (preferably fore shanks)
4 stalks celery; chopped
1 large white onion; chopped
2 large carrots; peeled and chopped
8 cloves garlic; smashed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 ancho chiles; seeded
½ c tomato paste
½ bottle of red wine
1 c tamarind paste
5 roma tomatoes; cut in half
tiny “pinch” fresh nutmeg
4 whole cloves
4 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
kosher salt to taste
water to cover
2 cups cooked white rice; hot
1 c kabakayi sauce (found at specialty stores; unagi sauce will work as well)
4 tbsp cilantro chuntey (*A)
1 recipe pickled vegetables (*B)
cilantro leaves garnish
fresh limes
sea salt


Bring a large roasting pan to high heat on the stove. Season the lamb shanks aggressively with salt and pepper. Add enough canola oil to the bottom of the pan to cover and then add the shanks. Sear the shanks until well browned on all sides and then remove and place on a plate on the side. While the pan is still hot, add the carrots, tomatoes, garlic, ancho chiles, onions, ginger, celery, cardamom, nutmeg and tomato paste and cook until very well caramelized. Once caramelized add back the lamb shank, bay leaves, tamararind and cover with water. Season with salt, cover with foil or parchment paper and cook in the oven at 350 for 3 hours, or until lamb is very tender. Once lamb is cooked, remove lamb from pot and toss in a large bowl with the kabayaki sauce. Place the lamb shanks back in the oven and cook until well glazed, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid and put back on the stove. Cook sauce until reduced to desired consistency (this step can be omitted and lamb can be served right out of the pot if so desired for a more rustic presentation). Toss the warm rice with the cilantro chutney and spoon equal amounts of the rice into four warm service bowls. Top the rice with a lamb shank and some of the reduced sauce. Garnish with the pickled veg and cilantro leaves. Season the shank with some fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of sea salt.

*A (Cilantro Chutney)
1 c greek yogurt
1 serrano chile; seeded and minced fine (can be adjusted to taste)
1 small garlic clove; smashed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
12 mint leaves; rough chop
handful cilantro leaves; rough chop
salt to taste

Combine ingredients into the blender and pulse until well combined. Season to taste with salt and reserve

*B (Pickled Vegetables)
¼ euro cucumber peeled and sliced medium thickness
1 medium sized carrot; peeled and sliced thin
½ small red onion; sliced medium
1 c rice vinegar
1 c sugar
3 thai chilies; split (Sub any small red chile)
1 tbsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a large plastic container and stir well to dissolve salt and sugar. Reserve overnight in the refrigerator.

TK Shiro Margarita
1½ oz. Nigori sake
1½ oz. 100% Agave Blanco Tequila
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
1 lime wheel for garnish
House made sour (for topping)

Build in shaker – muddle Nigori, 100% Agave Blanco Tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and top with house-made sour. Pour the mixture into a highball glass, and garnish with a lime wheel.