How to cook lamb shanks

 Lamb shanks with tomato and rosemary

How to cook lamb shanks

Coming from the lower part of the leg, lamb shank is a tough cut which requires long cooking to achieve good results. Each shank comfortably feeds one person and they are best cooked whole but, once braised, the meat can be pulled from the bone to fill pies or pasties. Once considered a cheap ‘forgotten’ cut, the recent rise in lamb shanks’ popularity has also hiked up the price.



Heat a large casserole pan over a high heat, season the lamb shanks and fry in the oil until evenly browned all over. Remove from the pan and set aside
Add the vegetables, rosemary and garlic to the pan and caramelise to a golden brown
Put the shanks back into the pan and deglaze with the red wine, add the stock and bring to the boil
Skim any impurities that rise to the surface and reduce the heat
Simmer for 2 hours, until the meat easily comes away from the bone
Allow to cool in the liquid before removing the meat and setting it aside
Strain the braising liquid and reduce to a sauce consistency


Try adding ras el hanout with the vegetables for a spiced Moroccan version. Martin Wishart adds tomatoes with the stock and finishes the sauce with red wine vinegar and sugar for a sweet and sour twist in his lamb shanks.

Alfred Prasad has an Indian take on lamb shanks in his Hyderabadi shanks recipe.