Braised Lamb Shanks

Braised Lamb Shanks

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Recipe by Stephen Pavy

Serves: 6 - 8

Serve with

Joseph Phelps Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia

This dish should be made over a two-day timeframe, if possible. Aside from enhancing the flavors, this leisurely preparation schedule allows the cook plenty of time to clean up after the messiest part of the preparations.


7 - 8 lbs.

Lamb shanks - have your butcher crack the shanks for easier handling
  Salt and freshly ground pepper to (generously) sprinkle over the shanks
2 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
2 large Onions, very coarsely chopped
2 medium Shallots, sliced
6 Garlic cloves, peeled
5 medium Carrots cut into large chunks
3 Celery ribs, cut into large chunks
3 Tbsp. Double-strength Italian tomato paste
1 Tbsp. Chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. Chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups Red wine
5 cups Low-sodium chicken broth

Pre-heat oven to 350°F

Sprinkle salt and pepper all over lamb shanks.

Heat olive oil in large heavy-bottomed kettle or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. (I strongly recommend one with greater than 6 quart capacity, otherwise spillage is very likely.)

Place shanks in single layer in kettle or Dutch oven. (You will need to repeat this since not all shanks will fit at once.) Cook, turning once, until shanks are nicely browned all over. This should take around 7 minutes per layer. Transfer shanks to platter and set aside.

Add all vegetables, herbs, tomato paste and ½ tsp. salt to kettle or Dutch overn and cook until vegetables begin to soften (3-4 minutes). Add wine, and then stock, using wooden spoon to pry up browned bits on bottom of pan. Bring liquid to simmer, then add the reserved lamb shanks and additional salt and pepper to taste.

Cover tightly and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for 1 ½ hours. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes more. Turn shanks and cook, still uncovered, for 15 minutes longer.

Remove from oven and use tongs to remove bone from shanks. (The meat should be sufficiently tender that it is falling off the bone at this point.) Place cooled bones on platter so that you can remove last bits of meat (add these bits to the pot) by hand before discarding bones.

Allow to cool and then refrigerate overnight.

1 hour before serving, scrape congealed fat from surface of chilled broth/lamb and discard fat. Place pot on stove and heat thoroughly through. Liquid should be simmering.

Allow guests to spoon lamb and vegetables into shallow bowls, passing bread for the sauce. (I prefer Della Fattoria polenta bread but any rustic will do just fine.)