Mediterranean Lamb Shanks

Lunch / Dinner

Mediterranean Lamb Shanks

Slow cook dinner as you go about your day, and come home to a bistro-style meal of rich, flavorful lamb shanks. Good things come to those who wait, and with this long-simmered dinner, it’s worth it. You may not be familiar with lamb shanks — they’re the “shins” of the legs, which become fall-off-the-bone tender when slow cooked in a tasty braising liquid.

When buying shanks, look for meat that’s pinkish-red in color, not deep red, like beef. And if you can’t find fresh lamb shanks in the meat section, look for frozen — they’re just as good. If possible, buy American-raised lamb because it doesn’t taste as gamey as New Zealand lamb.

Even when well trimmed, lamb shanks contain a lot of fat, so be sure to skim off any fat when making the sauce. The sauce needs little else, just a bit of thyme and a splash of vinegar.


4 servings

Total Time

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Test Kitchen Tips

Lamb shanks vary in size depending on their age and whether they are from the hind or foreshanks. Hind shanks are usually larger and meatier. Typically, each shank is 1–1½ pounds.

Trim most of the fat from the shanks, but don’t remove the white membrane that stretches over the muscles — it holds the shanks together while cooking.


Heat oil in a sauté pan over high. Brown shanks, two at a time, on both sides, about 5 minutes; transfer to a 6- to 8-qt. slow cooker.

Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to same pan; cook until vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to slow cooker.

Stir flour and tomato paste into pan; cook 12 minutes.

Deglaze pan with stock, scraping up any browned bits. Add wine and bring to a boil. Stir in tomatoes and transfer to slow cooker. Cover slow cooker and cook shanks until fork-tender on high setting, about 5 hours. Remove shanks and let rest 1520 minutes.

Strain braising liquid through a sieve; press vegetables into sieve and discard. Skim any fat from liquid and discard. Transfer liquid to sauté pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add vinegar to liquid and reduce slightly. Stir in 2 tsp. thyme and season with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over shanks.


Browning vegetables before adding to the slow cooker helps soften them and draw out their flavor.


Sautéing tomato paste and flour deepens the tomato flavor and eliminates any starchy flour taste.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving

Calories: 667

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 40g 61%

Saturated Fat 14g 70%

Cholesterol 157mg 52%

Sodium 571mg 23%

Carbs 23g 7%

Fiber 4g 16%

Protein 46g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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