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Lamb Shanks

posted Mar 11, 2013, 8:24 AM by Sam Hunt
Amber Alsterlund requested a recipe for Lamb Shanks, thank you Amber for the excellent request!
Lamb shank is a cut of lamb taken from either the shoulder (fore shank) and arm of a lamb or the upper part of the leg (hind shank). The fore shank will include part of the shoulder, as well as part of the leg, while the hind shank will include only part of the rear leg

A 3 oz. serving of lamb shank, trimmed to 1/8 inch of fat, is approximately 150 calories.

Each 3 oz serving  also contains:

Ø    22.7 grams of protein (49% of Daily Recommended Intake for women and 41% DRI for men). It is made up of 18 different amino acids including all of the essential amino acids - this makes it a complete protein.

Ø    No Vitamin A or C but numerous B vitamins - 20% DRI Riboflavin, 35% DRI for men and 40% DRI for women of Niacin, 10+% DRI for pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, and 95% DRI vitamin  B12.

Ø    Rich source of minerals: Zinc 50% DRI women and 36% for men, Selenium 46% DRI, Phosphorous 24%, Potassium 14%, and Iron 9% for women and 21% for men.

Ø    8.7 grams of fat: 3.9g of Sat fat, 4.1g monounsaturated fat, and .7g of polyunsaturated fat.

      Ø 76 mg of cholesterol
(lamb shanks are from locally grazed lambs)

Braised Lamb Shanks

Adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters (Potter 2007).


Makes 4 Servings



4 meaty lamb shanks, about 1 pound each


Fresh-ground black pepper

Olive Oil

2 onions, peeled and cut into large pieces

2 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces

1 head of garlic, cut in half

1 small dried chili pepper

4 black peppercorns

1 rosemary sprig

1 bay leaf

¾ cup white wine

2 medium tomatoes or half of a 14.5 oz can organic whole tomatoes, cored and chopped

2 cups chicken broth


For the Gremolata

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped lemon zest

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped



Trim any excess fat from the shanks. Season liberally with salt and pepper - the day before if possible.


In a heavy-bottomed pan over med-high heat, pour enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan. Add the shanks and brown them on all sides (or see note on browning). This will take about 12 minutes. When the shanks are brown, remove them from the pan and pour out most of the fat. Add onion, carrots, garlic, chili pepper, peppercorns, rosemary, and bay leaf. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften,


Add the wine and tomatoes. Turn up the heat to reduce the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by hal, put the shanks back in the pan and pour in the chicken broth. The ligquid should come about halfway up the sides of the shanks. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down the heat. Cover and cook for 2-1/2 – 3 hours at a bare simmer on the stovetop or at 325 in the oven.


Skim off all of the fat. Pass the sauce through the food mill or puree it briefly with a stick blender, regular blender or food processor. If it is very thick, it can be thinned with a little chicken broth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Return the shanks to the sauce.


To make gremolata, simply mix together with the parsley, lemon zest and garlic.


Warm the sauce and shanks. Serve sprinkled with gremolata.



Lamb Shanks with Wheat Berries and Parsnips

Makes 4 servings


1-1/2 cup hard, red wheat berries – soak overnight in water (can be found in most natural foods and specialty stores and in natural food sections of some supermarkets)

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

4 meaty lamb shanks, about 1 pound each

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 large carrots (~ ½ lb), peeled and cut into 1-in pieces

2 medium parsnips (~1/2 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife and peeled

1-1/2 cups dry red wine

14/5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

2 cups chicken stock, preferably low sodium


The night before cooking the lamb, put the wheat berries in a large bowl and cover them with cold water.

Tie the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf up in a cheesecloth bag and set aside. Pat the lamb shanks dry and season them with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch Oven set over med-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the shanks. Do in batches if necessary so that the shanks are not crowded in the pan (or see browning note). Cook, turning periodically, until a nice crust has formed. This takes about 8-10 minutes. Remove the browned shanks to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add carrots, parsnips, onion, celery, and garlic cloves. Cook, stirring, for 7 to 9 minutes until the vegetables are turning golden. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any brown bits. Simmer 5 minutes and then add the herb bundle, tomatoes with their juice and chicken stock to the pain in addition to the drained wheat berries. Bring the pot to a simmer and cover. Simmer on the stove for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Return lamb shanks and accumulated juices to the pot. Put the covered pot in the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours or until the lamb and wheat berries are tender (the wheat berries still should have a little bite to them).

To serve, present the shanks whole or shred the meat off the bone in the kitchen and serve plates of wheat berries and vegetable topped with shredded meat and cooking liquid.

Lamb Shank Nutritional information from