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
  • lamb-shank-3
    • 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
    • lamb-shank-7

      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.
    • lamb-shank-8

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  • Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    These lamb shanks are fall off the bone stunning!

  • Dimitry

    This looks great I love lamb shanks.

  • Mélanie

    Je n’ai qu’une chose à dire : Miam! (et pour me donner faim avec de l’agneau à 9h du mat, il faut être fort!!)

  • nina

    Lordie, lord, this looks so appetizing Zen!! Man, you CAN cook!!!!

  • T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    This recipe is like a “hug.” Shank you! :-) I can’t take my eyes off that glossy finish!

  • http://www, James

    Anchovy and juniper I like.

  • Peter

    Stef-Chef, A winter classic – lamb shanks are. I love how you got that glazed look without cheating…no corn starch. I bow to the Gaul. 😉

  • Pei-Lin

    Oh, yumm!! Looks absolutely tender & succulent! Great use of such a huge variety of ingredients. Yes, we don’t want meat that’s been treated too “chemically” so to speak. =(

  • Stacey Snacks

    I am making osso bucco for a dinner party Sat .night, I was making Mario Batali’s recipe, but I will try this instead!

  • radish

    these look AMAZING. you just got me totally derailed. how am i supposed to think about financial type things when i just saw pictures of this? cruel, cruel human you are.

  • Rose

    Holy cow (or lamb, rather) I just about fell off my chair. Those lamb shanks are just stunning. I have to make this. Thanks for showing us how it’s really done. WHOA! You rock!

  • dawn

    that sauce! que la sauce est parfaite! how I love a good sauce.

  • pigpigscorner

    OMG the glaze looks AMAZING! Bookmarking this!

  • anda

    Oh dear God! I nearly fainted when I saw the picture on tastespotting! It looks wonderful!

  • Sean

    …there has been better jokes but that sexy bone presentation makes up for it. Looks delicious

  • Chez

    Isn’t their lamb amazing – we have been enjoying it as well! I am loving your shank recipe, nothing like a good shank that is cooked properly. Well done!

  • Marc @ NoRecipes

    Wow, those are some shiny shanks! Stacey left a comment on my lamb shank post about being torn between the two, but after seeing these I have to tell her to make yours. Truly a masterpiece:-)

  • noobcook

    woah they are glistening and so beautiful. a work of art! hehe =)

  • uncledee

    beautiful glaze my friend, fantabulous. is that coin yellow thing polenta?

  • deana@lostpastremembered

    THe prettiest shanks ever award… love the recipe too!

  • Adelina

    I like to eat lamb, but I usually have to pinch my nose together so I don’t have to inhale the smell of it! I don’t ever cook lamb nor how to, it just seems a bit too intimidating for me! So….after reading your post and looking at your recipe, I might want to take a little “Risk”!

    Thanks for sharing and for posting such a delicious recipe!

  • Peggy

    I’ve never really been able to get lamb the consistency and flavor that I’ve wanted, but yet again, I’ve never tried to braise lamb either… so maybe this will be my guiding light!

  • Cynthia

    I bow to the master!

  • edava

    I have a favorite lamb shank recipe too, Persian style with Pomegranate juice, but the inclusion of juniper berries is intriguing. I have 2 lamb shanks defrosting in my fridge as we speak. So now, it’s either your recipe or and Indian curry one, from here: Hmmm….

  • we are never full

    it;s that demi-glace… that has gotta make the dish just that much better. i feel like that it’s the lamb version of a candy-apple. so glossy.

    and, see, now i’m jealous of your free goods. wink, wink, i like lamb too. ALOT.

  • dokuzuncubulut

    Amazing recipe… Thanks.

  • bunkycooks

    This is beautiful! I have a recipe that I always use that is amazing, but I may have to try this one now!

  • maybelles mom

    Great thing you are doing for Haiti.

  • The Little Teochew

    Truly, THE most photogenic lamb shank I have ever seen. EVER.

  • Andrew

    to all the desparate housewives: if you can make me a Lamb Shank like this, well you won’t be desparate for long anymore… just ask Zen for advice on relationships, it’s the best consult you can get…

  • zested

    Those are some seriously sexy shanks! I actually bought juniper berries after the whole nettle crème anglaise extravaganza last spring – glad to have another use for them.

  • Darina

    Wow, that looks great. I had a lamb shank the other day. Yours looks better. I’m putting this on my to-cook list. Boy, is it ever getting long.

  • Oui, Chef

    Wow….the sauce on your shanks looks so rich and beautiful. You don’t mention reducing the cooking stock to make your sauce, is it this dark and rich without reduction? Bravo!

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  • LeahG

    Made this last night for Valentine’s Day dinner – had never made lamb shanks before. THIS DISH WAS FABULOUS!!! Thanks so much for an amazing recipe!

  • Chris

    im curious about the yellow thing as well, is it a sort of crispy polenta cake? ive been wanting to pair something like that with braised short ribs, or in your case lamb shanks… would you happen to have a recipe/any tips? it looks great!!!

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  • Cavner

    Made this tonight with a bed or Orzo. I didn’t have the demi-glaze or the vinegar and it was still delicious.

  • Polishing Terrazzo

    I have a request! Why do you take the pictures in that way…just to torture your visitors appetite….but anyways I’m lost in the food!! Looks yummmmmmmy.Thanks….

  • kInfokbad

    hello- what is demi-glase?

  • Crissywrong

    Made it for Xmas eve dinner last night. We had my 97yr old grandma and had to have something an old, old, old lady could chew and something that the rest of us with taste buds could enjoy. It was big time yummy. It made tons of sauce which is good and bad. Good because we put it on toast for a midnight snack and bad because I have to resist the urge guzzle it all by itself. Looking forward to leftover shepherd’s pie.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great recipe! I made it for New Years dinner and everyone liked it!

  • Oriental Rug Cleaning Miami

    Great site and I look forward to checking out your updates!

  • Maris815

    Looks so yummy…….what is the garnish…….super thin onion rings?…..deep fried pasta?

  • Anonymous

    Fried shallots!

  • David Jefferson

    i couldn’t find shanks so i used back-straps. they didn’t fall of the bone at all.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t use back-strap for braising. Too lean. Lamb shoulder would be a good substitute.

  • Anonymous

    They’re in the oven right now…:-) 

  • Anonymous


  • Gordonramsit

    Rubbish Recipe ! Discarding the solids…??/ Ha ! Stick to toast.