Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe


No, no… i didn’t apply shoe polish to my lamb shanks. Thanks for asking! A shoe is probably the last thing on earth these lamb shanks should be compared to. Today we’re dealing with pure tenderness, my friends. Sure, they require proper technique and a bit longer braising time than your average lamb shank, but it’s well worth the trouble. As i always say, time spent caring for your shanks is time well spent.

I’ve been wanting to post this recipe for a long, long time. My go-to recipe for braised lamb shanks. My absolute favorite braised lamb shank recipe which i tweaked a little from Tom Valenti. Shanks are cut from the arm of shoulder, contain leg bone and part of round shoulder bone, and are covered by a thin layer of fat. That’s the part of the animal that gets a lot of exercise, so they develop exceptional flavor and they break down to a luscious, gelatinous consistency when slow-cooked for hours.


It all started when Lava Lake Farm contacted me to see if i would be willing to try some of their products. Heck yea! was my answer, i think. Or maybe it was.. you betcha’! Unless it was heeyaa!!.. err.. I can’t remember. Anyway, a few days later i received a box full of goodies, lamb chops, lamb shanks… etc.  I immediately thought this would be the perfect occasion to share my favorite lamb shank recipe with you, because after all, this blog is all about you. Except for the food. I get to eat the food.

I usually don’t plug products or companies unless it’s something special. And this is very special, friends. Not only i found the quality of the lamb to be outstanding but i also happen to agree 100% with the company philosophy. Ideally, you want lamb that has been raised sustainably, humanely, and without antibiotics or growth hormones. Ultimately, you want a lamb that gets hugged everyday. And with the nice folks at Lava Lake Farm you get all of that.


  • Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe

  • Inspired by Tom Valenti recipe in “Welcome to my Kitchen”
  • Serves 4
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    • For the Braised Lamb Shanks:
    • 4 lamb shanks
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup canola oil
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped
    • 2 carrots,chopped
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1/2 cup tomato paste
    • 2 cups red wine
    • 3/4 cup white wine
    • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    • 2 teaspoons juniper berries
    • 4 anchovy filets, chopped
    • 1 whole head garlic, cut in half
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 1 cup demi-glace
    • 2 cups Chicken Stock
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      For the braised lamb shanks:
    • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
    • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Working in batches, add lamb, and sear until brown all over, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pot, and set aside.
    • Pour off all but 3 tablespoons fat. Add celery, carrot, and onion, and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook about 3 minutes more. Stir in red and white wine, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, juniper berries, chopped anchovies, garlic and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes to burn off some of the alcohol. Add demi glace and chicken stocks.
    • Add lamb and return to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 1 hour. Uncover and cook until meat is very tender, turning the shanks over every half hour, 3 hours more.
    • Remove shanks from braising liquid; strain the liquid and discard the solids. Skim any fat that rises to the surface and use the liquid as a sauce. Serve.
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  • CanadianinNZ

    Made these for a dinner party last night with an extra lamb shank because there were 5 people – didn’t have to adjust the recipe at all  – there was more than enough braising liquid to manage it.  Everyone couldn’t stop raving about how amazing they were! Served it pretty much as close to what I could see in the photo – sauteed spinach with garlic, grilled polenta, and crispy fried shallots.  Only change was I strained the jus to remove the thyme, bay, juniper berries and peppercorns, let the jus thicken a little in a saucepan, and tossed remaining vegetables back in.  Poured extra jus into a jug for passing around the table to the joy of everyone! Down here in the New Zealand winter was a howling a gale outside while we tucked in to dinner with a good bottle of New Zealand pinot noir.  Couldn’t have been better! Thanks so much for the amazing recipe which I plan on enjoying again and again!  

  • zenchef

    I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for commenting. 

  • Lnarachi

    If you obtain a locally-raised grass-fed lamb, you won’t have that lamb smell. It costs more, but it so worth it.

  • Vanessaqbirch

    Could you use a slow cooker? If so, how long would you recommend putting them in for?

  • Cindyk

    Dinner party for six.  I bought 8 lamb shanks that are pretty small.  How big are the ones in the recipe.  Not sure if I should increase ingredients.

  • Linda

    I made this a couple of days ago for guests and they could not stop raving about it.  Actually I used a boned leg of lamb and put the whole thing in a deep-sided casserole to bake.  I couldn’t find any juniper berries but I replaced them with a chipotle in adobo, a favourite of mine in any case.  Our guests came back yesterday evening and scoffed the remainder so no leftovers for me!  This one is definitely a do-again.  Zen sure can cook, no question!

  • Trini Chef

    this lamb presentation is lovely…..looks appetizing

  • WhoCaresWhoIAm

    OH YEAH! Crispy Shallots were a fantastic addition!
    This recipe rocks!

  • Venni Martinez

    You can google it

  • whocareswhoiam

    Fantastic recipe. This is a bit rich, but incredible flavor. I serve it with fava beans or sometimes over mashed potato when feeling decadent!

  • whocareswhoiam

    btw, I followed the recipe the first time but since then, i now cook this covered for three hours, then uncovered for one…it helps to curb the richness of the sauce.

  • LambLover

    this recipe is a real treat. I was wondering how many hours should I put it in the oven for a leg of lamb.

  • Chck007

    I’ve made this recipe twice thinking the first time had to be luck. As the main dish for a dinner party of 12 the first time, I’m still getting compliments a year later. The second time was just as good. Use good drinking wines and just do as instructed. The sauce is amazing!!!!

  • dgs

    4 hours cooking is too long. dish can be made at 325 in 2 to 3 hours
    vegetables are discarded in the recipe. should save the vegetables,onions,etc. by using the same ingredients in a non strain form. over-all very good…

  • clearymom

    Actually i did cook mine in 3 hrs and it could have probably used another hour. It was not falling off the bone as i expected.

  • dave

    although it is reasonably obvious i suggest you specify which temperature scale you are using.

  • Jennifer

    It was amazing. Thank you!

  • Marva Sutton

    Remember, all ovens are not created equal. :)