Braised Lamb Shanks are slow cooked until tender in a red wine sauce flavored with tomato, onions, garlic, and fresh rosemary. Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta for the ultimate comfort food dish.
Braised Lamb Shanks = Major Comfort Food Recipe
Every year we buy an organic, grass fed lamb from our favorite local farm and every year I make this same classic dish with the shanks.
Braised lamb shanks have become my favorite comfort food go-to dish, especially when the cold weather calls for a hearty dish.
What are lamb shanks
Many people might think that buying grass fed meats from local farms is too expensive, but the truth is that it can be quite affordable. One way to save money while supporting your local farmer is to become part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.
Think of it as a subscription service for the freshest, in-season food for vegetables, meat, fish, bread, dairy, etc. I search for local farms near me on EatWild.
Another way to make this way of eating more affordable is to buy less expensive cuts. This recipe utilizes lamb shanks, which are a super flavorful, yet inexpensive cut of meat.
Since it's a super tough piece of meat, it does take some time slow cooking and oven braising for the shanks to really shine. In about 2-3 hours, you'll have some of the most tender and flavorful lamb ever!
Plus, the sauce is amazing and you'll want to pour it all over everything.
The base of this recipe is the same one I use for my Braised Beef Short Ribs, with a few changes and additions. I'm a firm believer in the "if it ain't broke" theory.
Also, if you're not a lamb lover, then the beef short ribs recipe might be just for you.
How to cook lamb shanks
Since the weather here is still crappy (aka winter) and I'm all about comfort food right now. I've been oven roasting, braising, Instant Potting, and Crock-potting everything...but no grilling.
Honestly, I cried the other night because it was -1F degrees outside and there was snow all over the ground.
I couldn't grill the chicken and pork I had marinating in homemade jerk paste for the past 2 days without literally freezing to death. (P.S. that might be a slight exaggeration)
The next time it was cold and windy, I didn't even mess around with the grill. Instead, I made these shanks and served them with creamy polenta.
The polenta was made with a ton of grass-fed butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese mixed in, so I counterbalanced it with healthy oven roasted kale.
Then, I added a glass of red wine and it was perfection on that chilly
winter spring night.
Serve the lamb shanks with these sides:
- Slow Cooker Colcannon
- Fresh Ginger & Shallot Green Beans
- Easy 7 Layer Salad
- Sweet Potato Rolls
- Garlic Cheddar Cheese Angel Biscuits
Think of these braised lamb shanks next time you need to make a comfort food recipe on a chilly day. They also make a perfect Easter dinner!
Braised Lamb Shanks
- 4 small lamb shanks , about ¾-1 pound each; preferably local farm raised & grass-fed, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion , about 1 medium
- 1 cup diced carrot , about 1 large
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- ½ cup good quality red wine
- 2 cups good quality beef stock , homemade or store bought
- 1 cups good quality chicken stock , homemade or store bought
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary , chopped (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
optional: fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley , chopped
- Take the lamb shanks out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature before cooking (about ½-1 hour).
- Preheat oven to 325F/163C degrees.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add tablespoon of olive oil and sear the shanks on all sides until brown, adding additional olive oil as needed. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrot, and garlic to the pan. Sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add beef and chicken stocks, tomato paste, and rosemary and stir well. Increase heat again to medium-high and bring sauce to a boil. Return lamb shanks to the pan, cover, and place in the preheated oven.
- Braise the shanks for 2-2 ½ hours, or until lamb is fork tender.
- Place the cooked shanks on a serving dish. Skim excess fat off top of cooking liquid and reduce over high heat to thicken into a sauce, if necessary. Place one lamb shank on a plate, spoon sauce over it, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Terrific recipe. I'm not a big fan of cooked carrots, so I substitute parsnips, and I love cumin with lamb, so I add some of that. Really quite an easy recipe for such rich and complex flavors. A keeper!
I love this recipe! So simple to make! Making now for NYE dinner and have made many times in the past. I don’t put it in the over, instead I leave it cooking on the stove, low heat, and it comes out super tender, falling off the bone, and delicious. It’s always a hit and it is such an easy recipe! Thank you so much for making me lose the fear of making shanks!
This is so amazing! Think I'll use it for Easter dinner!
Thank you Virginia!
Could I use pork shanks instead of lamb?
Sure, I don't see why it wouldn't work. You should be able to cook them for the same amount of time too. There also may be a little extra fat on top after cooking, but just skim that off. If you try the pork shanks, please let me know how they turn out.
I will! Thank you for responding so quickly!
My husband and I made this for Sunday dinner,it was a very good experience this recipe is a keeper. Thanks for posting.
Thank you for taking the time to review Bev and so happy you and your Husband liked the recipe!
My husband loves me even more after making this tonight. It was delicious and I also served it with cauliflower purée. I seasoned the lamb shank with salt and pepper before searing and added celery to my aromatics but otherwise left the recipe as is.
LOL Erika! Sooooo happy you all loved the lamb recipe and thank you very much for taking the time to review it!
Amanda W Porter
I have a marinated leg of lamb recipe that I thought was the best...until I tried your recipe! These shanks are the best lamb I have ever had. The recipe was is well written (easy to understand and follow) and the dish is easy to make but has big flavors that make it a comfort dish worthy of serving to even the most distinguished guests. I will be saving this recipe and passing it along as well. Thank you so much for a new favorite. The fist night I had these I couldn't wait and just had the shanks; the second tasting I placed shanks over wide egg noodles, and the next time I eat them I am going to try them over polenta. Smashed new potatoes with the skins left on would be another option. Really anything to soak up the lovely juices would work.
THANK YOU SO MUCH Amanda!!!! Your comment means everything to me and I think I'm going to print it on a t-shirt and wear it around, so I can read it all the time. LOL!! Seriously, beyond happy you loved the recipe and really appreciate you taking the time to comment too.
Hi! I plan on making these lamb shanks for Easter, but wanted to add fresh thyme and bay leaves (because I love those flavors). Have you tried the recipe with these herbs? I just want to make sure they don't clash! Thank you!
Hi Ivette! I've used fresh thyme in this before instead of the rosemary, but not bay leaves. It should be fine if you use both thyme and bay leaves in this, especially if you really love those flavors. Bay leaves can be a little strong, so maybe try a small leaf the first time. Happy cooking and please let me know how the recipe turns out for you!
This recipe is amazing! I was generous with the veggies and added salt and pepper to the shanks as I browned them since my broth was salt free. Did not need to reduce liquid for a gravy. I used mashed cauliflower instead of polenta to save on carbs. Husband, a food service director, was blown away! Very , very easy. Will make this a definite go to recipe.
Thank you Lisa and you and your Hubby have made my day!!! So happy you both liked the recipe and appreciate you taking the time to review it.
We like Lamb in any way, though my wife prefers the Shank.!!
A question on the recipe, I see no salt or pepper on it!! Any reason why?
Thanks for the Pics..
Thanks William and the rich flavor of slow braised shanks are the BEST! There's enough seasoning with the broths, so I find no additional salt and pepper is needed. If you try the recipe, please let me know how you and your wife like it!
Can I just tell you that I am drooling over these?!? WOW!!! This whole recipe looks amazing. I am going to make this for my husband and surprise him. YUMMMMMMM!!!
I love lamb shanks. How could I not? When made correctly they fall off the bone, and the meat is tender, flavorful and delicate at the same time. I’ve never tried to make lamb shanks at home. This recipe looks easy enough for me to pull off. Thanks for sharing!
Mary | Evolve with Mary