Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe: A Hearty and Flavorful Feast

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Indulge in a rich and comforting meal with this Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe. Perfect for special occasions or a hearty family dinner, these lamb shanks are cooked to perfection in a flavorful broth of wine, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. This dish is not only impressive but also surprisingly easy to make.

Why this recipe for braised lamb shanks is great

This recipe is a favorite for several reasons:

  • Deep Flavor: The slow braising process infuses the lamb with a rich, savory taste.
  • Tender Meat: The lamb shanks become incredibly tender and fall-off-the-bone delicious.
  • Perfect for Entertaining: It’s a crowd-pleaser that looks and tastes gourmet.

Ingredients Overview

Main Ingredients

  • 5 lbs lamb shanks (about 5 shanks)
  • 2 tbsp ghee or other cooking fat
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 small carrots, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 4 small yellow potatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced (about 1.5 tbsp)
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock (or broth)

Seasonings and Herbs

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper (optional for seasoning vegetables)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preparing the Lamb Shanks

  1. Dry the Lamb Shanks: Pat the lamb shanks dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. This step ensures better browning.
  2. Season the Meat: Season the lamb shanks all over with kosher salt. About two teaspoons should suffice.

Searing the Meat

  1. Heat the Ghee: In a braiser over medium-high heat, melt the ghee.
  2. Sear the Lamb Shanks: Add the lamb shanks and sear on all sides until brown, about 10 minutes total. Remove the shanks and set them aside on a plate.

Cooking the Vegetables

  1. Saute the Veggies: In the same pan, add the chopped onion, carrots, and potatoes to the fat and drippings. Season with ½ teaspoon salt. Saute for about 10 minutes until slightly softened.
  2. Add Garlic: Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Braiding the Lamb

  1. Return the Shanks: Place the seared lamb shanks back into the pan.
  2. Add Liquids and Herbs: Pour in the diced tomatoes, red wine, and beef stock. Add the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf.
  3. Bring to a Boil: Increase the heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Simmer: Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan tightly with a lid. Simmer for 2 hours.

Final Simmer and Sauce Reduction

  1. Flip the Lamb Shanks: After 2 hours, flip the lamb shanks over and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  2. Remove Herbs: Discard the tied herbs.
  3. Reduce the Sauce: If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the lamb shanks temporarily and boil the sauce for 10 minutes until thickened. Return the lamb shanks to the pan and coat with the sauce.

Tips for Perfect Braised Lamb Shanks

  • Dry the Meat: Patting the lamb shanks dry helps achieve a better sear.
  • Use Fresh Herbs: Fresh rosemary and thyme add a vibrant flavor that dried herbs can’t match.
  • Low and Slow: Slow braising ensures tender, flavorful meat.

Choosing the Right Ingredients

  • Lamb Shanks: Look for meaty shanks with some marbling for the best flavor.
  • Wine: Use a good-quality red wine, as it will significantly impact the dish’s flavor.
  • Stock: Beef stock or broth adds depth to the braising liquid.

The Magic of Fresh Herbs

Fresh rosemary and thyme infuse the braising liquid with aromatic flavors. Tying the herbs together with twine makes them easy to remove before serving.

Serving Suggestions

  • Rice Pilaf: The perfect accompaniment to soak up the delicious sauce.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Another great option for a comforting meal.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Add a fresh, healthy side to balance the richness of the lamb.

Variations and Add-Ins

  • Different Vegetables: Add parsnips, turnips, or mushrooms for variety.
  • Alternative Herbs: Experiment with herbs like sage or oregano for a different flavor profile.
  • Spicy Kick: Include a few red pepper flakes to make it hotter.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Put leftovers in a container that won’t let air in and put it in the fridge for up to three days.  Reheat gently on the stove or in the oven until warmed through.

Health Benefits of Lamb Shanks

  • Rich in Protein: Lamb is an excellent source of high-quality protein.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Lamb provides essential nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc, and iron.
  • Healthy Fats: Contains beneficial fats that support overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Different Cuts of Lamb?

Yes, you can use other cuts like lamb shoulder or leg, but cooking times may vary.

What Can I Substitute for Red Wine?

You can use additional beef stock or a non-alcoholic red wine alternative.

How Do I Know When the Lamb is Done?

The lamb is done when it is tender and falls off the bone easily.

Can I use a slow cooker for this recipe?

Yes, after searing the lamb shanks and sautéing the vegetables, transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

What Sides Pair Well with Braised Lamb Shanks?

Rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables are excellent choices.


This Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe is a delicious and impressive dish that’s perfect for any occasion. The slow braising process ensures tender, flavorful meat that’s enhanced by a rich, savory sauce. Serve it with your favorite sides, and enjoy a meal that’s sure to impress. Bon appétit!

Enjoy the hearty and rich flavors of this braised lamb shanks recipe, perfect for a comforting meal any time of the year!

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