These slow braised lamb shanks are perfect for any occasion, and certainly at Easter. Meltingly tender meat falling off the bone is accompanied with a ready-made sauce and vegetables, all cooked in the same pot.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Table of contents
Easy Lamb Shanks
When I go out to eat, braised lamb shanks are one of my fail safe dishes, if there’s nothing else on the menu I fancy. Slow cooked lamb shanks, with juicy, tender meat falling off the bone, are just so, so satisfying!
This is an easy recipe that doesn’t require much thinking or hands on time. It’s pretty fluid in what vegetables and herbs you use, as well as the type of wine. There is a small amount of liquid left in the pan after cooking, so you don’t need to make any separate jus or gravy to go with it.
Red or White Wine?
Either wine will do. When I make this recipe in the warmer months, I make it with white wine, for a slightly lighter flavour all around. In the colder months, nothing beats a full bodied red wine when cooking these lamb shanks. I am also only using half a cup for this, just enough for flavour but not too much that it becomes the identifying flavour.
Easter time, one could go either way, as the temperatures are still cool enough for one to enjoy a robust jus from the slow braised lamb shanks, and mild enough for you to be thinking of summer.
Don’t drink alcohol?
Just leave it out of the recipe and go ahead with the stock.
Herbs and Vegetables in Our Lamb Shanks
Rosemary is traditional, as are bay leaves in just about anything. So I tend to go with these. You can also add thyme to the mix.
As far as the vegetables are concerned, I like to add some carrots and celery for 2 reasons:
- there are some ready cooked vegetables to serve with the lamb, and I just love slow cooked carrots
- the vegetables add flavour to the sauce
If you would like your carrots a little sturdier, add them about 1 hour after you add the lamb shanks back, in step 6.
I use chicken stock in most of my lamb dishes, finding lamb stock a little too strong on the nose. If you make your own stock, great, if not, use a good shop bought stockpot or cube. We tend to have frozen homemade stock at home, but there are always some stockpots handy for when we run out, and because they are also very convenient. These are the ones I use.
Whether you use chicken or lamb stock is completely up to you. One stockpot or stock cube is usually for 500ml (2 cups) of water. So for our 1 litre (4 cups) of stock here, we would need 2 of them.
How to Serve Slow Braised Lamb Shanks
You have some “ready made” vegetables in the sauce, in the form of the onions, carrots and celery. Chances are though, your celery and onions would have practically fallen apart and become part of the sauce, leaving you with just the carrots.
- Depending on the time of year, brussels sprouts are always good, as is some braised red cabbage. A side salad if you love your salad would go well too.
- As far as starch is concerned, I’m a big fan of mashed potatoes with this, but crushed potatoes and roast potatoes will also be great.
- As mentioned above, you don’t need any gravy or jus, as there will be plenty of sauce in the saucepan.
That’s it, let’s get our aprons on!
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Slow Braised Lamb Shanks for All Seasons
- 1 Tbsp EV olive oil
- 4 lamb shanks
- 2 large onions quartered
- 4 large cloves garlic peeled and left whole
- 2 large carrots sliced in thick rings
- 2 celery sticks sliced in 5cm (2″) lengths
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp AP flour
- 125 ml red wine (or white, depending on taste and season) skip if you don't do alcohol
- 1 Tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 litre chicken stock (or lamb stock)
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sized casserole dish, saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat, and brown the lamb shanks on all side. This will take about 5 minutes. When done, take the shanks out, and place them on a plate until later.
- Lower the heat to medium and fry the onions for 1 minute.
- Add the garlic, carrots, celery, rosemary and bay leaves and fry for another minute, stirring to coat everything with the lamb fat and flavour in the pan.
- Add the flour, stir vigorously for a few seconds, then add the wine. Stir, and leave the wine to reduce for 5 minutes on the same heat.
- Add the tomato paste, mustard and stock and stir to mix.
- Add the lamb shanks back to the pot, stir, and coat the lamb shanks with the liquid in the pot. Bring back to a boil over high heat. Then lower the heat to almost it lowest setting, cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the lamb shanks are fully cooked and the meat is practically falling off the bone. The time will depend on the size of your shanks, and, to a certain extent, its age.
- Finish off with lots of freshly ground black pepper, check to make sure there you don’t need anymore salt (you shouldn’t). Serve as suggested above, with the sauce and the vegetables in the saucepan.