Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Slow Cooked Braised Lamb Shanks

Updated photos and republished in June 2020.

I grew up eating Leg of Lamb and have enjoyed preparing it myself many, many times. I have also enjoyed grilled Loin Lamb Chops and Rack of Lamb but until recent years, I'd never had Lamb Shanks. I'm not sure if that's because they simply weren't available as a choice back when I was a girl, or what, but I don't ever remember anyone even talking about shanks ... I mean what is a shank?

According to Wikipedia,  a meat shank or shin is the portion of meat around the tibia of the animal, the leg bone beneath the knee. Lamb shanks are often braised whole; veal and beef shanks are typically cross-cut.

Some dishes made using shank include:
  1. Bulalo, a Filipino beef shank stew
  2. Ossobuco alla milanese, an Italian veal shank dish
  3. Persian Biryani, with different shanks
  4. Nihari a spicy national dish of Pakistan
  5. Cazuela with shank meat, popular in 19th century Chile during the nitrate boom
After I found out what a lamb shank was, I realized it was the long narrow portion on a whole leg of lamb. Ahhh haaaaa! Now I knew what it was and realized I had tasted it before, just never as a separate piece from the leg.

Like most less tender cuts of meat, a lamb shank is meant to be braised and slow cooked. Doing so creates the most flavorful dish I've ever had and the meat is falling off the bone tender and so delicious.

What will you need to make Braised Lamb Shanks?
  • lamb shanks
  • beef or lamb bone broth or stock
  • small tomato paste
  • red wine
  • oregano
  • thyme leaves
  • parsley leaves
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • Cremini or button mushrooms

2-4 lamb shanks
1 cups lamb or beef bone broth or stock
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. thyme leaves
2 tsp. parsley leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
16 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Dutch Oven:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Saute vegetables in oil for a few minutes or until just beginning to cook and soften. Add remaining ingredients, cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours or until shanks are fork tender.

Slow Cooker:
Spray a large slow cooker with cooking spray. Place diced celery, onion, mushrooms and carrots on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, place lamb shanks on top and ladle some of the sauce over top.
Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, or until the meat on the shanks is pulling away from the bone.

Serve shanks over egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes topped with vegetables and sauce.

Servings:  2-4 depending on amount of shanks used


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