Friday, April 12, 2013

Braised Lamb Shanks

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First off, apologies for being a bit behind this week. I have been meaning to share this recipe with you since Easter, but a variety of obstacles got in my way. I am finally all caught up, and I now get to share this delicious recipe with you! This year, I cooked my first Easter dinner. We feasted on braised lamb shanks, red bliss smashed potatoes with garlic and chives, and a spring pea salad with radishes, feta cheese, and a honey lime vinaigrette. Since the lamb shanks were unbelievably tender, falling off the bone, and just so delicious, I decided that was the recipe to share. Even though lamb is popular for Easter, this would be a great entree for a dinner party any time of year. 

To make the lamb shanks you will need:
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 lamb shanks (each about 1 1/4 pounds; 1 shank is a portion)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1.5 yellow onions
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of medium to full-bodied red wine
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 10 to 12 thyme branches tied together in a bundle
  • 3 1/2 cups of water

First, cut the onions, carrots, and celery into 1 inch pieces. Then cut the garlic cloves in half.

Mix all together in a large bowl. 

Then put all of the vegetables in a food processor and puree until it forms an orange paste. I only have this little guy, so I pureed the vegetables in a couple of shifts. 

Once you are done, place the vegetable puree into a bowl and set it aside. 

Now it is time to brown the meat. Take the lamb shanks and rub them generously with kosher salt. 

Then, cover the bottom of a large dutch oven (or heavy pot) with extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place all 4 lamb shanks into the pot.

 Cook on each side until they are golden brown- about 8 minutes per side. 

Then, using a pair of tongs, remove the lamb shanks from the pan and set aside onto a large plate. At this point, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Then add your vegetable puree into the same oil in the dutch oven and cook over medium high heat until it starts to turn brown. This should take about 20 minutes. Don't shorten this step- this is where a lot of the flavor in the sauce will come from.

 Then stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes.  


Add in the red wine, chopped rosemary leaves, and bundle of thyme branch and let simmer until the wine reduces by half- about 5-7 minutes.

Add the lamb shanks into the pot, turning once to coat in the sauce, then cover the pot and place in the oven. 

The total cooking time is 2.5-3 hours. But, set your timer first for 1.5 hours. After the first 1.5 hours, then turn the lamb shanks over in the pot and then reset your timer for another 45 minute. Check the shanks every 45 minutes to see how much more time they need. They are done when you can easily pull the shanks apart with a fork!

Place a shank onto each plate and top generously with the sauce! These were one of the best meat dishes I have ever prepared, and I will certainly be making these again soon! 


  1. Sounds darn delicious alright. I especially like the look (and taste) of the dark crust around the edge.
    Now how's about coughing up the "red bliss smashed potatoes" recipe for us too some time.  ◕‿◕

    1. Thanks, Amateur Cook! I didn't take pictures of the red bliss smashed potatos for a blog post, but I would be happy to send you the recipe. Shoot us an e-mail at and I will send you back the recipe. ~Liz


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