top of page

February 9

Saint of the day:

Saint Apollonia

Patron Saint of Dentists; Tooth problems; Elst, Belgium; Ariccia, Italy; Cuccaro Monferrato, Italy

Saint Apollonia’s Story

The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned.

While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.

There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. Saint Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death.






Reliquary containing a tooth reputedly that of Saint Apollonia,

in the Cathedral of Porto, Portugal.

Her tooth!



Braised Lamb Shank with Rice and Toasted Garlic Bread {"Fattah"}



  • 2 lamb shanks


  • 2 sprigs rosemary

  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed

  • salt and pepper


  • olive oil to coat the pan

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 2 celery stalks. chopped

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 Tbl, tomato paste

  • ¼ cup, red wine

  • water to cover the lamb shanks

  • 2 rosemary sprigs

  • 2 cardamom pods

  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 loaf of gluten-free wheat bread, each slice cut into 6 pieces

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • 1 cup rice

  • 2 cups, braising liquid

  • salt and pepper to taste


  • olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan

  • 1 medium onion, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • salt and pepper to taste



  1. Season lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper and place in a ziploc bag with rosemary and garlic for 2-12 hours, turning halfway through

  2. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large braising pot over medium-high heat

  3. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly browned at edges

  4. Stir in tomato paste to coat all of the vegetables and then add the wine. Allow to boil and slightly reduce (about 2-3 minutes) before adding water to just cover the lamb shanks.

  5. Add in the rosemary and cardamom. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1½ - 2 hours until meat is very tender but still adhering to the bone. Add water, if needed, to cover the lamb throughout the cooking process.

  6. In the meantime, heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add butter, garlic and bread tossing to coat until bread is slightly slightly toasted and garlic is beginning to brown. Transfer to a baking pan and continue toasting in the oven at 350 for an additional 5 minutes, or until browned and crisp (see above picture). Reserve on the side.

  7. When lamb has finished cooking, take the shanks out of the cooking liquid and reserve, covered in foil, in the oven at 250 degrees, to keep warm while cooking the rice.

  8. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.

  9. Add two cups of the reserved lamb stock to a medium pan and save the rest for when you assemble the dish. Cook the rice in the lamb stock (instead of water) according to package instructions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  10. While the rice is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the sliced onion and cumin and stir frequently, cooking until well-browned and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  11. To assemble the dish, place the toasted garlic bread on the bottom of the platter in one layer, spoon the rice on top, nestle the lamb shanks in the rice and pour enough reserved stock on top to moisten the bread on the bottom layer (do not soak the dish). Sprinkle the frizzled onions on top.


bottom of page