An impressive meal fit for easy entertaining, festive celebrations, or a fabulous family meal, Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks is probably a lot easier to make than you think. Just follow along and you’ll rock this dish, we’ll just let the oven do all the hard work!
- 1 onion medium, diced
- 4 – 6 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 2 tablespoons light cooking oil
- 3 lamb shanks
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 – 24 oz (796mls) can whole or crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375⁰F (190⁰C). Prep your onion and garlic and reserve. Place Dutch oven (or heavy bottomed, oven proof pot with a tight fitting lid) on the stove on medium-high heat. When pot is well heated, enough so that a bit of water dripped from your fingers splatters; add a thick slick of cooking oil, approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons.
- Dry lamb shanks well with paper towels to remove excess moisture, and season with salt and pepper. Place lamb shanks in the pot, being careful to avoid splatters, and sear the outside of the meat. Allow shanks to sear well, to a golden brown, approximately 4 minutes per side. Watch pot to ensure the oil does not burn. Turn lamb shanks as needed, to complete the process on all sides.
- Remove seared shanks from pot and reserve in a nearby bowl, at room temperature. Pour off excess or burnt oil from pot. Add cooking oil if necessary to ensure there is still a good amount of oil for your next step; the foundation of your sauce.
- Return pot to stove at medium-high heat and add onions, cooking until just barely translucent, then add and sweat your garlic, stirring as needed.
- Once onions and garlic are well cooked and combined (smelling TERRIFIC), deglaze your pot with red wine. Scrape off any remaining golden bits, or suc, on the bottom of the pan. Allow red wine to reduce by about a third, by keeping it at a rapid boil for about three minutes, stirring as needed.
- Add beef stock. If using whole tomatoes, crush lightly by hand before adding to the pot, or ‘cut’ with a spoon once in the pot to ensure they break up well in the sauce. Stir to combine.
- While sauce is returning to a boil, add herbs; thyme, bay leaves, and pepper, and stir. DO NOT ADD SALT. Reserve the final seasoning of your sauce until after braising, reduction and thickening. This will help to ensure the salt dose not overtake your dish, as reducing will serve to concentrate your sauce.
- Once liquids have come to a full boil, return lamb shanks to the pot. Arrange shanks to be mostly covered by liquid. Place lid on cocotte and put in waiting 375⁰F (190⁰C) oven for 1 hour.
- At the one-hour mark, check your sauce level to ensure your meat is mostly covered by liquid. Add additional beef stock or water if needed. Using a small knife, test meat for tenderness. The ideal doneness sees the meat easily penetrated, and tender, but still adhering to the bone. Unless your lamb shanks are very small, they will probably require an additional 45 minutes – 1 hour of cooking time.
- Spoon sauce over shanks, place lid back on, and return to oven for 35 – 45 minutes or until done. Once the tip of a paring knife easily pierces the shanks, on all sides, remove shanks from red wine sauce and reserve at room temperature. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with an equal amount of water, until combined. Place pot back on stovetop, over medium-high heat. Bring sauce to a boil. Remove reaming bay leaves. Once at a boil, add cornstarch, slowly, stirring constantly, until sauce reaches desired consistency. Reduce heat to a minimum, or remove completely from heat if serving later.
- Taste. Adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Return lamb shanks to the sauce, over minimum heat, while finishing and plating dinner. Serve on the bone, draped in sauce, and piping hot. You are a rock star!
IF USING A SLOW COOKER: Your method is infinitely simpler, though I often find with red meat, in particular, you may miss a layer of flavour. Simply place all your sauce ingredients (except oil) in your slow cooker. Add lamb shanks, ensuring they are mostly covered by liquid. Place lid on the slow cooker, and cook on medium heat for 6 – 8 hours. (Time will vary depending on your slow cooker.) Remove lamb shanks. Pour off red wine sauce into a separate pot. Reduce sauce by up to one third, thicken with cornstarch as above. Return shanks to the sauce and serve.
- Category: Mains
- Method: Braising
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: red wine lamb shanks