Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Sauce
I fell in love with lamb shanks the first time I ever tried them. They are so tasty, so juicy and the flavor is amazing. Lamb shanks are best slow cooked and, although you can do them in the oven, a crockpot or Dutch oven will be your very best friend in the kitchen if you want really great results from this braised lamb shanks in red wine sauce recipe.
One lamb shank per person is enough, and they go really well with mashed potatoes and vegetables (maybe red cabbage, asparagus or carrots) along with your choice of sauce. I like to make lamb shanks in the crockpot and then either spoon the sauce directly over the meat, or else reduce it in a pan to make it thicker.
Tips for Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Sauce
The following braised lamb shanks in red wine sauce recipe is best made in a Dutch oven, a large, heavy-bottomed pot. If you prefer to use a crockpot, sear the meat first, then put everything in the crockpot and cook it for about 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high, or until the lamb is so tender it is almost falling apart.
If you want to leave out any of the vegetables that is fine. At the end, you will need to use an immersion blender (handheld/stick blender) to get the sauce smooth. Add as much hot water as needed. The sauce should be thick but not too thick.
- 4 lamb shanks, each approx 1 lb (450g)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 finely diced carrots
- 1 finely diced onion
- 3 finely diced celery ribs (optional)
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 2½ cups (625ml) full-bodied red wine
- 28 oz (800g) canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups (500ml) chicken stock or water
- 4 fresh bay leaves or 2 dried ones
- 5 sprigs of thyme, tied together
- ½ to 1½ cups (125 to 325ml) hot water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
- Pat the lamb shanks with paper towels, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy based pot over a high heat.
- Brown the lamb shanks in there, in 2 batches.
- It will take about 5 minutes to brown them all over.
- Transfer the lamb on to a plate then drain any excess fat from the pot.
- Turn the heat down to low-medium.
- Now heat the a tablespoon of oil in the same pot and add the celery, onion, carrot and garlic.
- Sauté this mixture for 10 minutes.
- Pour in the red wine and turn up the heat up to medium-high.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the tasty brown bits up.
- Simmer it for 3 minutes.
- Add everything else (including the other teaspoon of salt and some more pepper) then stir to combine.
- Put the lamb shanks in the pot.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, then put the lid on and bake for 2 hours.
- Turn the shanks over, cover the pot again, then cook for a further half hour.
- Discard the bay leaves and thyme, and skim any excess fat off the surface.
- Puree the sauce with an immersion blender, adding hot water if needed.
- If you don't have one, use a blender.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the lamb shanks with the sauce ladled over them, perhaps pairing the dish with mashed potatoes and your favorite vegetable.