Braised Lamb Shanks are fall off the bone tender and surprisingly easy with garlic, beef broth, red wine, and thyme to flavor the meat.
If you’ve tried Beer-Braised Pot Roast or Red Wine-Braised Chicken, then you already know what an amazing flavor and tenderness this cooking method gives meat. Now, you can use it to make the ultimate Dinner Recipe with lamb shanks.
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Sabrina’s Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe
If you haven’t prepped lamb shanks before, they can seem intimidating. Many readers here cook more with chicken or beef recipes, and may avoid lamb because it is less familiar. However, there’s really nothing harder about preparing lamb meat, and if done properly it has an incredible taste.
This Lamb Shanks recipe just goes to show that you can easily prepare the perfect, hearty, and comforting family dinner with lamb. The steps are essentially the same as any braised beef recipe you’d try. All you have to do is sear the meat until it’s browned, then cook it at a low temperature in braising liquid to tenderize it.
Though braising is a little time-consuming, it’s also incredibly easy. After spending just a few minutes searing the lamb shanks, all you have to do is add the other ingredients to your dutch oven. Then pop it in the oven, and don’t worry about it until it’s time to take the dish out and serve.
- Lamb: This recipe calls for 4 lamb shanks. However, you can always change up the ingredient amounts depending on how many people you need to serve. Generally, you’ll want about 1 pound of shank per person you’re serving and you’ll season simply, with just salt and pepper.
- Oil: Browning lamb shanks in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil before braising it gives the recipe a richer, bolder flavor. Be sure to season the meat with kosher salt before searing.
- Vegetables: Cooking the recipe with vegetables adds more flavor and variety to the meal. Add ½ cup sliced celery, 1 diced yellow onion, 2 pounds of red potatoes, and 1 pound carrot pieces to the dutch oven. They’ll cook and soften during the oven time.
- Beef Liquid: The cup of beef broth gives a bold, but natural and earthy flavor to the braising liquid. Meanwhile, the 1 ½ cups of red wine and ¼ cup tomato paste give the recipe a brighter, tangy flavor. The red wine also does a great job softening the meat as it cooks. To further flavor the braising liquid, add 4 cloves minced garlic and 4 sprigs fresh thyme. You could also replace the minced garlic cloves with all-natural garlic powder.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
- Large Dutch Oven: A dutch oven will be the place where your lamb shanks braise for hours in the oven. A dutch oven is a large heavy pot with a lid. It is often cast iron or ceramic and is ideal for braising. Make sure your dutch oven is large enough to hold all your lamb shanks and vegetables.
- Measuring Cup and spoons: You need a measuring cup and measuring spoons for all of your ingredients to create the cooking liquid and add seasonings.
- Tongs: Use tongs to turn the lamb shanks as they brown in the dutch oven on the stovetop.
- Cutting Board and Knife: Grab your favorite kitchen knife and a cutting board so you can chop the vegetables. You can chop them into big chunks so they can hold up to the long cooking time, while still absorbing all the flavor of the cooking liquid.
- Thermometer: You can use a meat thermometer to make sure the lamb shanks are fully cooked.
How to Make Braised Lamb Shanks
Time needed: 3 hours and 20 minutes.
- Prep Time
If your lamb meat is frozen, take it out of the freezer in time to thaw before starting the recipe. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Then season lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
- Sear Lamb
Add butter and olive oil to the base of a large dutch oven, and put the dutch oven over high heat. Add lamb shanks to pot and sear on each side until the meat is browned. It should only take about 5-6 minutes on each side. Then turn off the stovetop.
- Wine Sauce and Vegetables
Top the lamb with potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, beef stock, red wine, thyme, and tomato paste.
- Cooking Time
Place the dutch oven in the preheated oven. Then cook lamb shanks for 3 to 3 ½ hours until the meat is tender. To check that the Braised Lamb Shanks are done cooking, you can use an internal meat thermometer. Lamb is safe to eat when it’s reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees. If it’s not quite done, continue cooking for an additional 4 or 5 minutes or so until it is.
Transfer lamb from pot to plates to serve with mashed potatoes or pasta. Then spoon sauce over the top.
“Can Braised Lamb Shanks be made ahead?”
Making Braised Lamb Shanks ahead of time is very easy. Simply follow the recipe and then let the lamb and vegetables come to room temperature. You can decide to refrigerate or freeze the lamb for easy reheating later on. Heat the lamb in a covered baking dish at 350 degrees until bubbling. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer to make sure it has come to 145 degrees again before serving.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
Enjoy huge depth of flavor by following these braising tips.
- Do not skip searing
- Searing the lamb is a very important step in creating lots of flavor. Don’t skip this step and don’t skip the butter to opt for all olive oil. The butter is what will get the meat to start browning and the olive oil helps keep it from burning.
- Chop the vegetables in large pieces
- You can chop your vegetables into big chunks for braising so they can hold up to the long cooking time, while still absorbing all the flavor of the cooking liquid.
What to Pair With Braised Lamb Shanks
Braised Lamb Shanks make the perfect comfort food, and you’ll love serving them over Mashed Potatoes or egg noodles to round out the meal. You could also try other sides like Brown Rice or Stick of Butter Rice. For vegetable sides, make some Roasted Broccoli or Delicious Root Vegetables.
How to Store Braised Lamb Shanks
- Serve: Make sure you don’t leave Cooked Lamb Shanks at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: If you have leftovers, transfer shanks to an airtight container, or cover them in plastic wrap. The Braised Lamb Shanks can stay good in the fridge for 2-3 days. To reheat leftovers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then cover the shanks in aluminum foil and heat in the warm oven.
- Freeze: To store the lamb shanks in freezer, put them in an airtight plastic bag or another freezer-safe container. They can stay good frozen for 4-5 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your Lamb Shanks are turning out tough, it probably means you haven’t braised them long enough. Cooking them low and slow in a pot with wine sauce lets the meat absorb the liquid and flavor. That way, they’re perfectly tender.
If your oven is running too hot, the braising liquid may evaporate before the end of the cooking time. In that case, whisk together more red wine, beef broth, and tomato sauce, and pour it over the lamb shanks to continue braising.
- 4 lamb shanks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 pounds red potatoes , quartered
- 1 pound carrots , peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup celery , sliced
- 1 yellow onion , diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Season the lamb shanks with the kosher salt and black pepper.
- Add the butter and olive oil to a large dutch oven on high heat.
- Sear the lamb shanks on each side until browned, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
- Turn off the heat.
- Top the lamb with the potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, beef broth, red wine, thyme, and tomato paste and cook for 3-3 ½ hours until tender.
- Serve over mashed potatoes or pasta.
- Vegetables: You can add more vegetables into the dutch oven like sliced bell peppers, baby potatoes, mushrooms, or diced tomatoes.
- Seasonings: Try experimenting with different spices and fresh herbs. Paprika, ground mustard, sage, rosemary sprigs, and oregano are all delicious options.
- White Wine Sauce: You can make the cooking liquid with white wine instead of red for a lighter wine sauce. If you go with white wine you could also try using chicken broth because it will match the flavor better.
- Wine Substitutes: Most of the alcohol will cook out of the recipe in the oven, but if you want to replace the red wine with a nonalcoholic option you could use cranberry juice, grape juice, or beef stock.