How to Braise Lamb Shanks

Written by g.k. bayne
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Lamb shanks are cut from the foreleg of the lamb, just below the area of the shoulder roast. To qualify as lamb, the sheep must be less than a year old; otherwise, the meat is known as mutton shanks. Lamb shanks, like other tougher cuts of meat, benefits from braising, a form of cooking meats in a small amount of water for long periods of time. Lamb shanks are often available in the spring at your local grocery store or can be special ordered if the store doesn't normally carry lamb products.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Lamb shanks
  • Salt, pepper and seasonings
  • Cooking oil
  • Heavy skillet
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Roasting pan with lid, or
  • Dutch oven with lid
  • Water or beef broth

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  1. 1

    Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.

  2. 2

    Place the lamb shanks in the oil and brown on all sides, turning as needed with kitchen tongs.

  3. 3

    Remove the shanks from the skillet and place them in a single layer in a roasting pan or Dutch oven.

  4. 4

    Season the lamb shanks with rosemary, thyme, garlic or other seasonings of your choice, if desired.

  5. 5

    Pour in 1/2 to 1 cup of water or beef broth around the lamb shanks in the pan.

  6. 6

    Place the lid on the roasting pan and bake in an oven preheated to 163 degrees Cor two to four hours or until the meat is fork-tender. Alternatively, cover the Dutch oven and simmer the shanks on top of the stove over medium low heat for two or more hours until tender.

Tips and warnings

  • Lamb is considered a red meat and should be cooked according to the USDA recommendations for beef. Rare lamb will register 62.8 degrees Celsius, medium 160 degrees and well-done 170 or higher on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the meat.
  • Rosemary and thyme are the two herbs most associated with cooking lamb, but any herbs, spices or combination can be used.

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