Tender and rich red wine braised lamb shanks are an impressive main course that’s surprisingly easy to make. Lamb shanks are braised in a hearty blend of carrots, celery, onion, red wine, broth, and herbs. Pair with mashed potatoes, or creamy polenta for an ultra-comforting and hearty meal.
The meat effortlessly falls off the bone, it’s rich and flavorful, and the aroma is out of this world.
These Dutch oven braised lamb shanks are easier than they look, and are sure to impress anyone lucky enough to be at your table!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Dice 2 medium carrots, 1 large onion, and 2 large celery ribs, and smash 8 cloves of garlic. Preheat the oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level leaving enough room to accommodate a Dutch oven. Note: Anything larger than a 5-quart Dutch oven will do the job here. (Photo #1)
- Add 1 cup of flour to a dish and season four ~l-pound lamb shanks with salt and pepper on both sides, then dredge in the flour and shake to remove any excess. (Photo #2)
- Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sear the lamb shanks until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Move the shanks to a plate and set them aside. (Photo #3)
- Leave 3 tablespoons of lamb fat in the pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrots along with a pinch of salt and saute for about 10 minutes or until soft. (Photo #4)
- Add the garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes until fragrant, then add 3 ounces of tomato paste. Cook the paste for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If the sauce begins to burn, add a touch of water or lower the heat a bit. (Photo #5)
- Add 2 cups of dry red wine and turn the heat up to high. Scrape with the back of a wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits from the bottom of the pot and allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. (Photo #6)
- Add the lamb shanks to the pot along with 4 cups of low-sodium beef stock, 2 large bay leaves, 3 sprigs of rosemary, and 2 teaspoons of coarse black pepper. Cover the pot with its lid and braise in the oven for 2 hours. (Photo #7)
- After 2 hours, remove the lid and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes or until the lamb browns a bit more and is fork-tender. (Photo #8)
- Remove the shanks from the pot and degrease the sauce by skimming some of the top layer of fat with a spoon. Taste test, and if needed, season with more salt and pepper to taste. (Photo #9)
- Portion size. Lamb shanks tend to vary in size, but for the most part, a 1-pound lamb shank is a good portion for one person.
- Wine. Any dry red wine, such as cabernet, chianti, pinot noir, etc. would be great with these braised lamb shanks. If you prefer to not use alcohol, simply replace the wine with additional low-sodium beef stock.
- Cook time. The cook time I provided here is what I followed, however, depending on your oven, the size of your shanks, etc. the cooking time may vary. Just be sure to cook the shanks until very tender and you’ll be set!
- Overnight. If you have the time to cook the shanks ahead of time, they will taste even better the next day. Besides the next-day flavor bonus, storing the shanks in the fridge overnight will help you easily remove the fat layer the next day, if desired. Note: If storing overnight, place the shanks and the sauce in separate containers to make it easier to remove all of the fat the next day.
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Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks
- 4 ~1 pound lamb shanks
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup flour for dredging only
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 large celery ribs diced
- 8 cloves garlic smashed
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 2 cups dry red wine chianti, cabernet, pinot noir
- 4 cups low-sodium beef stock plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
- 2 large bay leaves
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- Preheat oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level leaving enough room to accommodate a Dutch oven.
- Season the lamb shanks well on all sides with salt and pepper then dredge in the flour and shake off any excess.
- Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat with olive oil and sear the shanks until brown on all sides (approximately 10 minutes total). Place all the seared shanks in a plate off to the side.
- Pour off the excess fat from the pot, leaving only 3 tablespoons worth. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pot along with a pinch of salt. Saute the veggies until soft (about 10 minutes).
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant then add the tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If the paste starts to burn add a few ounces of water and/or lower the heat a touch.
- Add the wine to the pot and turn the heat to high. With a wooden spoon, scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Boil for 2 minutes then turn the heat off.
- Add the lamb shanks, beef stock, bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, and black pepper to the pot. Mix well then cover with a heavy lid. Place the pot into the oven and cook for 2 hours then remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes or until the top of the lamb has browned a bit.
- Remove the lamb shanks from the pot and degrease the sauce by skimming some of the fat off with a spoon. Taste test, and if needed, season with more salt and pepper.
- Remove the rosemary and bay leaves and blend the sauce with an immersion blender to thicken. Alternatively, boiling for 5-10 minutes or using a cornstarch slurry works as well. Serve the lamb shanks with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes, polenta, or rice. Enjoy!
- Lamb shanks vary in size but a 1-pound shank is a good size portion for 1 person.
- Cooking time is a rough estimate. Cook until the lamb shanks are very tender.
- Serving the lamb shanks the next day is even better if you have the time! The flavors will concentrate and you can remove most of the fat from the sauce. Separate and refrigerate both the shanks and the sauce. The next day, all of the fat will have risen to the top and can be easily spooned off and removed. Reheat the shanks and sauce together over medium-low heat.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.