Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    Main-Course Servings

Appears in

It wasn’t too long ago that such cuts as lamb shanks—the shin, including the meat and bone—were relegated to antiquated cookbooks on the traditional cuisines of old Europe. Now, lamb shanks find their place in the chicest restaurants. When braised with plenty of wine and then glazed with their gelatinous braising liquid, they are one of the best braised dishes. Like stews, they can be garnished with mushrooms or assorted vegetables, but one particularly popular method calls for a large amount of garlic.


  • 6 lamb shanks, about 14 ounces each
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups broth
  • Bouquet garni
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled


Season the shanks with salt and pepper. In a sauté pan large enough to hold the shanks in a single layer, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the shanks and brown them on all sides. Remove the shanks from the pan and pour out the burnt oil.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the pan over medium heat. Add the carrot and onion and cook, stirring every few minutes, for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Return the shanks to the pan, add the wine and broth, and nestle the bouquet garni in the center. Bring to the barest simmer, cover, and cook for about 2 hours, or until the shank meat offers little or no resistance when poked with a small knife. Then preheat the oven to 375°F.

Gently lift the shanks out of the liquid and transfer them to a plate. Strain the braising liquid into a saucepan and simmer it gently, skimming off any froth or fat, for about 15 minutes or until the liquid is clear and greaseless. Put the shanks back into the empty sauté pan or an oval gratin dish, add the braising liquid, and sprinkle the garlic cloves over the top.

Cover the pan and slide it into the oven for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, basting every few minutes, for about 30 minutes, or until the braising liquid has a syrupy consistency, the shanks are covered with a dark sheen, and the garlic cloves crush when squeezed with your fingers. Season to taste with salt and pepper.