Savor Dakota Fall: Braised Lamb Shanks

Posted by Melissa Sievers on
Braised Lamb Shanks
SDPB 2016

Braised Lamb Shanks

By Chef MJ Adams as seen on Savor Dakota 103: Fall

Serves 4 people



4 lamb shanks, preferably around the same size.

2 whole peeled carrots, cut into medium dice (about 1 cup

2 whole stalks of celery, cut into medium dice (about 1 cup

1 small Spanish onion, peeled, cut in half, then each half cut into medium dice (about 1 cup)

1 small can of tomato paste

2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped

2 cups of good chicken stock

8 cups of water (you may not need all of this but keep around for when you check the shanks in 2 hours time)

1 1/2 T. of good olive oil

1 T. of freshly chopped Rosemary or you could use thyme or sage salt and pepper for seasoning



• Preheat oven to 350 degrees

• You will need a roasting pan that is large enough to hold 4 shanks comfortably and the liquid needed to almost submerge them.

• Use a pan that allows room for the liquid and leaves
about 2-3 inches of space before the liquid would spill out.

• If you don’t have a lid it is okay to use foil.


• Place your pan over medium heat.

• Add the olive oil.  Don’t let your oil 
is get too hot, you do not want it smoking (if so, just move the pan off the heat and let 
cool for a moment).

• While your pan is heating lay the lamb shanks on the counter or a plate and sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper and the rosemary.

• Gently place in the pan.

• Brown all sides of each shank, it takes about 10-15 minutes.

• When each shank is browned, remove from the pan.

• If there is more than 3 T. of grease, remove some if possible, if not you can do this after cooking.

• Add the carrots, celery, and onion to the pan.

• You want to cook these for about 8-10 minutes until they get
 a little caramelization on them.

• Add the minced garlic, cook for another 4 minutes.

• Add the tomato paste, stir the tomato paste in and let cook for about 5 minutes. You want the paste to stick a little to the pan.

• After 5 minutes, gently pour in all the chicken stock and 2 cups of the water. You want to dissolve the tomato paste into the liquid. This will take about 5 minutes. 

• When the tomato paste is dissolved, add the browned lamb shanks back in.

• Depending on the pan and everything else that has already went into the pot you may need to add 1 cup or more of water. You want the liquid not completely covering them but you should be able to see a little of the middle of each shank.

• Once this comes back to a boil, turn off the heat and put a lid on the pot. If you don’t
have a lid, then use a piece of foil that can cover the whole pan.  You should be able to crimp down all the edges along the pan. You want the lamb
shanks to be sealed inside the pot. This allows for them to braise inside the liquid.

• Gently place the pan in the middle of the oven on the middle rack. If you are using foil,
make sure you are aware that you need to hold the pan level. Let the shanks cook
 for 2 full hours.

• After two hours, remove the pan from the oven. Be careful of the steam that will be released when you remove the lid or foil to check on the shanks.

• Gently turn each lamb shank over.

• You may need to add another ¾ cup or 1 cup as the shanks will cook for another hour.

• Return the lid or foil to the pan.  Make sure that there is a seal so that no steam escapes.

• Cook for another hour.

• Take out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

• Take off the lid, be careful of the steam.

• The lamb shanks should be fork tender and pull away from the bone.

• Place the shanks on a platter.

• Depending
 on how thick your sauce was you may or may not need to add any more water.

• Spoon a little sauce over them for decoration.   Serve with the rest of the sauce in a pitcher so that each of your guests could add more sauce if they want to.

You may serve the shanks with creamy polenta or couscous (both of these have cooking instructions on the box) or a blend of mashed parsnips and yukon gold potatoes.

Notes: Medium dice is about the size of the end of your thumb

This is a good way to get rid of leftover wine. I may substitute 1 cup of red wine or white wine for the water. This is wine that you never 
finished and stored in your refrigerator for later use. Don’t use wine that has been left out on the counter because it would have a vinegary taste.

Check out your local second hand store for roasting pans or large pans to put in the oven . You don’t need to run out and buy one, but if you really
 enjoy cooking a nice dutch oven is a good investment and you can cook a lot of things with it.

Enjoy with a nice Pinot Noir or a Gamay. The lamb has wonderful flavor and I do not like to overpower it with a heavy red wine.