Lamb shanks are good value and the slow cooking in the oven means the meat is very tender. In this recipe, I've braised the lamb shanks in a rich tomato and white wine sauce, together with red onions and carrots which give a deliciously rich thick sauce. I use rosemary for extra flavour as it goes so well with lamb. If you prefer, you could use thyme and oregano or parsley and bay leaves. Braised Lamb Shanks is a great dish for a Sunday or for entertaining.
What is Lamb Shank?
Lamb shank comes from the bottom part of the leg, usually below the knee. It's a relatively cheap cut of meat but will become beautifully tender when cooked slowly. A lamb shank is cooked on the bone. I recommend one lamb shank per person weighing about 300g (including the bone). For smaller children, you can divide the meat from one once it has been cooked. One of the best ways to cook a lamb shank is to braise it. This means cooking it in a sauce and covering with a lid. In this case, we cover the roasting tray with a few layers of foil. Just scrunch the foil to form a seal around the tray. This helps make sure the sauce doesn't evaporate during the slow cooking. Braising lamb shanks like this will ensure we get lamb that is so tender it comes away from the bone easily. The sauce is full of flavour as the lamb cooks in the sauce.
What to serve with Lamb Shanks
Braising the lamb shanks in a rich sauce together with onions and carrots means it's almost a one-pot meal. I think the best thing to serve it with is potatoes. If I cook this dish on a Sunday, my family insist on roast potatoes, as we would have with any other roast dinner. Having said that, mashed potatoes go particularly well as they help to mop up all the lovely sauce. A sweet potato mash would also go nicely. You can also serve this with a plain pasta. If I'm looking for extra vegetables, I serve something nice and green such as cabbage.
Do you need to sear Lamb shanks?
Searing meat means frying it. You cook the outside of the meat at a high temperature until it is browned. When cooking any meat that is going to be braised or stewed, it is best to sear it first. This helps to seal in the flavour of the meat. It also helps to flavour the sauce as some of the meat juices will glaze onto the pan which will then help to flavour the sauce. Because lamb is quite a fatty meat, I would recommend putting on your extractor fan if you have one when searing the meat. It takes about 10 minutes. You need to keep turning the shanks over to make sure all the sides are done. Because they are an awkward shape, you won't be able to brown them perfectly on all sides. This doesn't matter, just brown as much as you can. Remember, they are going to cook for at least two hours in the oven, so there is no danger of the meat not being cooked properly.
Lamb is at its best in Spring and Autumn. As with all meats, try to buy local grass fed lamb rather than imported or industrially produced lamb. You will notice a real difference in the flavour. It also has a lower carbon footprint.
Storing Lamb Shanks
You can store any leftovers from these lamb shanks for up to two days in the fridge. As with all meat, make sure it is piping hot when reheating it. You should also only reheat meat once. You can freeze cooked lamb for up to two months. As it is quite a fatty meat, the taste and texture may start to deteriorate after this time.
Leftover Lamb Recipes
Braised Lamb Shanks in a Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoon olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 4 lamb shanks about 300g each
- 2 red onions organic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 carrots organic, peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic organic, peeled and crushed
- 4 tablespoon fresh rosemary organic, leaves only, chopped
- 400 ml lamb stock organic or use chicken stock
- 400 g chopped tomatoes organic
- 200 ml white wine organic, fairtrade cooking wine has a low alcohol content
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash black pepper organic, fairtrade, freshly ground
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Heat a film of olive oil in a roasting tin over a medium heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown or sear on all sides then remove to a dish. This will take around 10 minutes.
- Add the onions and carrots to the roasting dish and stir until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and rosemary and stir for a couple more minutes.
- Add the stock, tinned tomatoes and white wine. Season with salt and pepper and stir together. Place the lamb shanks in the sauce.
- Cover the roasting tin tightly with foil and scrunch the edges so it is a good fit. Cook in the oven for 2 - 2 ½ hours until the meat is really tender.
- Serve the lamb shanks with potatoes or pasta.
Nutrition per serving
The Nutritional Values are computer generated estimates based on industry standards and are provided as a helpful guide only.