Perfect for an impressive holiday meal!
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These braised fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks are so juicy, rich, and succulent that they’ll impress anyone you serve them to. They are full of flavor and cooked with vegetables that season the broth they’re cooked in. The broth is turned into a thick, lush sauce that I pour all over everything on my plate. You can serve the vegetables the lamb is cooked with alongside or serve the lamb with your favorite vegetables. The shanks go well with anything!
Why you’ll make this several times over the holidays
Juicy, tender lamb
Rich tomato sauce
Soft potatoes and carrots
Succulent fall-off-the-bone lamb with a rich, luscious sauce that will impress everyone!
This is what you’ll need
- Lamb shanks –much less expensive than other cuts of lamb
- Olive oil –the one in our shop is made from olives off my family’s olive trees in Crete
- Carrots –cut into large chunks
- Celery stalks –roughly one to two-inch ribs
- Potatoes –cut into large chunks
- Onion –roughly chopped
- Garlic cloves –grated or minced
- Crushed tomatoes –quality canned tomatoes are so easy
- Balsamic vinegar –try the one in our shop!
- Water or broth –chicken or vegetable broth are good
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Dried oregano
- Rosemary sprigs
- Ground cumin
- Bay leaves
- Fresh lemon juice
How to make braised fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
- Season the lamb on both sides lightly with salt and pepper.
- Place a cast-iron (enamel-coated) pot over medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Do this in 1-2 batches.
- Set the lamb aside.
While the lamb is browning, prepare the vegetables
- Peel and roughly chop the onion and potatoes.
- Chop the carrots and celery.
- Then, add the vegetables to the pot with a pinch of salt and cook until golden –about 7-8 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and warm through until fragrant.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, herbs, and spices.
Slow-cook the lamb
- Place the lamb on top and cover with water or broth.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the lid on the pot and transfer it to the preheated oven.
- Allow the lamb to cook for about 3 hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
- Carefully remove the lamb from the pot and set it aside on a platter.
- Remove the vegetables as well.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Place the pot over medium-high heat and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken to your desired consistency. I like to mash a potato into the sauce at the beginning to help thicken it.
- Add the lemon juice and either place the lamb back into the pot to warm through or serve the sauce on top.
There’s a shortcut when cooking for a crowd!
If you’re making this for a crowd and have a bigger batch, skip browning the shanks in a pot. Season the lamb and place it on the pan you’ll be baking them on. Place them under the broiler, as close as you can get the lamb without touching and brown for ten minutes on each side. This will save you a ton of time and cleanup! The shanks won’t have as much color on them as they would if browned in a pot, but there won’t be any loss of flavor.
The side dishes for these lamb shanks are endless. Potatoes from the pot, mashed potatoes, and Mediterranean rice all make great bases, while broccolini, salad, and green beans all go perfectly. I like to build the plate starting with potatoes and carrots with a lamb shank on top and lots of delicious thick sauce. Then, I garnish the plate with fresh chopped parsley, mint, or a combination of the two. The herbs add freshness to the rich dish and don’t forget the crusty bread to sop up every drop of sauce. Let me know what sides you like to serve it with! Kali Orexi!
Serve the Lamb with:
- 4 lamb shanks
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 3-4 potatoes
- 1 onion
- 6 garlic cloves, grated
- 15-oz crushed tomatoes
- 3-4 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 4-5 cups water or broth
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
Season the lamb on both sides lightly with salt and pepper.
Place a cast-iron (enamel coated) pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Do this in 1-2 batches. Set the lamb aside.
While the lamb is browning, prepare the vegetables. Peel and roughly chop the onion and potatoes. Chop the carrots and celery.
Add the vegetables to the pot with a pinch of salt and cook until golden. About 7-8 minutes over medium heat.
Add the garlic and warm through until fragrant.
Add the balsamic, tomato sauce, the herbs and spices. Place the lamb on top and cover with water or broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the lid on the pot and transfer to the preheated oven.
Allow the lamb to cook for about 3 hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
Carefully remove the lamb from the pot and set aside in a platter. Remove the vegetables as well. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Place the pot over medium-high heat and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken to your desired cinsistency. I like to mash a potato into the sauce at the beginning to help thicken it.
Add the lemon juice and either place the lamb back into the pot to warm through or serve the sauce on top.
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