I was super stoked to try braising red meat in my new enameled cast iron dutch oven. We decided on lamb, but many of the recipes online called for lamb shanks. Lamb shanks aren’t easy to come by at my local grocery stores. Costco sells lamb chops, rack of lamb and de-boned lamb leg. I almost went for the de-boned lamb leg, but I found a butcher that sells New Zealand (frozen) lamb shanks for $5/lb. I picked up 5 shanks (for two of us, it’s a lot of meat but I wanted leftovers).
I found a wealth of recipes online for braised lamb shanks but I didn’t really have all the ingredients for any of the recipes. I also wanted to keep it as simple as possible because Jay wasn’t in the mood for anything fancy. Fine by me! I took a hybrid approach and this is what I came up with.
5 lamb shanks
2 ribs celery, chopped into chunks
2 carrots, chopped into chunks
3 onions, chopped into large chunks
one head of garlic (6-8 cloves), squished with a knife
~5 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups red wine
1 lemon, quartered
small bunch dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1.5L (6 cups) chicken stock
Pre-heat the oven to 325F. Prep all the veggies.
In the enamelled cast iron pot, heat some vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Salt & pepper the lamb shanks and sear the lamb on all sides, turning using good tongs (do them in batches as you don’t want to crowd them in the pot or they’ll just steam and not brown). I used the grease splatter cover thingy because it made a greasy mess. Place the lamb shanks on a plate as they’re seared. Once the meat is done, hold a wet paper towel with the tongs to wipe up as much of the black bits in the pot as you can. Add the veggies to the remaining oil in the pot, add salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until browned a bit. Add the tomato paste to the veggies, stirring to distribute.
Add the red wine and let the mixture cook for a few minutes to get rid of some of the alcohol. Add the thyme, bay leaves and lemon.
Add the chicken stock and stir. Put the lamb shanks back into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil then cover the pot with the lid and put it in the oven for 1.5 hours. To give the liquids time to reduce, remove the lid and cook for another 2 hours or until you’re happy with how tender the meat is and how it falls off the bone. Every half hour to 45 minutes, turn the shanks over.
If you want a gravy or au jus, strain out all the veggies and herbs and serve the liquids as is, or thicken with flour to make gravy.
Serve with potatoes and veggies and enjoy.