Braised Lamb Shanks

Yield 8-10 servings

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  • 6 lamb shanks, Frenched, 1-1½ pounds
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 garlic head, peeled and halved
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups beef broth or stock
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
  2. Season the lamb shanks liberally with salt and pepper. Brown the shanks on both sides in ½ cup olive oil over medium-high heat. This may need to be done in multiple batches to avoid overcrowding in the pan. Place browned shanks in a roasting pan.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrots, and onions and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, anchovies, and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the wine, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the beef and chicken broths and bring to a simmer.
  4. Pour over the lamb shanks. Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the cover and bake, turning the shanks every 30 minutes, for an additional 2-3 hours or until the lamb is fork-tender and the meat is easily pulled from the bone.
  5. Place the shanks on a serving platter. Strain the liquid and skim off the fat. Stir in hot water to make the sauce thinner if desired. Serve with the lamb shanks.


There is more than one way to skim a cooking liquid. A ladle or spoon can be employed to gently skim the fat from the surface, but only if the liquid is barely simmering. Fat will also adhere to a paper towel if deftly skimmed across the liquid’s surface. When you’re making a stock, it’s simplest to strain and chill the liquid. When the fat rises and solidifies it can be easily scooped off. A fat separator—a gadget that looks like a measuring cup with a spout—is the high tech way to go.

Courses Dinner