Braised Lamb Shanks
These Braised Lamb Shanks are slow cooked until fall apart tender and smothered in a rich sauce. This is a restaurant quality dish that’s easy to make at home. This Paleo Lamb Shank recipe is also Whole30, Grain/Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Keto and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal.
I am a total sucker for any meat that is slow cooked and fall apart tender, it could be one of my all time favourite meals. Lamb shanks are such a great meat to slow cook, not only are they rich in flavour, but they become insanely tender. These braised lamb shanks are a fantastic dish to serve guests because it requires very little work in the few hours before serving, but always seems to impress thanks to the succulent meat.
WHY YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS BRAISED LAMB SHANK RECIPE:
- The meat melts in your mouth: there is no need to use a knife to eat these lamb shanks, they are truly fall apart tender.
- The flavourful sauce: I find that slow cooking cuts of meat still on the bone adds even more flavour to the sauce, and these shanks are no exception. The sauce is so rich thanks to the combination of lamb juices, beef stock, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar and herbs. It sounds simple, but you will be forgiven for wanting to drink the sauce up with a spoon.
- A restaurant quality meal: This is a really impressive meal that I wouldn’t hesitate to serve to guests. I find that slow cooked meat is always a crowd pleaser and this recipe is no exception.
- Inexpensive: lamb shanks are a relatively inexpensive cut of meat compared to short ribs etc. I personally think they offer a real bang for your buck, easy on the wallet while seeming fancy once cooked.
- Alcohol Free: By using a combination of balsamic vinegar and beef stock in place of red wine (which is traditionally used for braised lamb shanks), you get the same richly flavoured sauce, but without the alcohol. That means these lamb shanks are Whole30 and a great option to serve anyone who does not consume alcohol.
- Make Ahead: I find that the flavours and tenderness of the meat only improves with time, so you can cook these shanks a few hours, or even days in advance.
- These Paleo Lamb Shanks are also Whole30, Grain Free, Gluten Free and Dairy Free, but no one would ever know!
WHAT ARE LAMB SHANKS?
Lamb shanks are a cut of meat from the lower leg of a lamb. They are known for their meaty and flavorful taste, which comes from the connective tissue and bone marrow in the shank. The shanks are often braised or slow-cooked, which helps to break down the tough connective tissue and create a tender, fall-off-the-bone texture. Lamb shanks are a popular choice for stews, curries, and other hearty dishes. They are also a good source of protein and nutrients like iron and zinc.
CAN BRAISED LAMB SHANKS BE MADE IN A SLOW COOKER?
Definitely! I have included full instructions in the recipe card below for slow cooker lamb shanks. Use the sauté/sear function on your slow cooker for steps 1-4 or alternatively you can do these steps on a pot on the stove. Once the lamb shanks have been added back into the sauce, cook them on high heat for 6 hours or low heat for 8 hours. Once the lamb is very tender, place the lamb shanks on a baking tray and keep warm in the oven (this will also help to caramelize the edges of the shanks). Turn the slow cooker back to sauté/sear and leave the sauce to simmer for 10-15 minutes until it has reduced by approximately half.
CAN BRAISED LAMB SHANKS BE MADE IN AN INSTANT POT?
You betcha! Use the sear function of your instant pot for steps 1-4. Once the shanks have been added back to the pot, set to Manual mode and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes followed by natural release for 10. Place the lamb shanks on a baking tray and keep warm in the oven (this will also help to caramelize the edges of the shanks), turn the instant pot on sear and leave the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes until it has thickened.
CAN I MAKE THIS LAMB SHANK RECIPE IN ADVANCE?
Absolutely! In fact I think the flavours in the sauce only improve with time. You can make the lamb shanks up to 3 days in advance and store them in the sauce in the fridge. If you notice a layer of fat hardening on the surface of the sauce, you can scoop that out with a spoon. When ready to eat, just put the pot on the stove top and leave everything to heat up on medium heat.
CAN I FREEZE THESE BRAISED LAMB SHANKS?
Freeze leftovers in a ziploc bag or airtight container with any of the excess sauce. These paleo lamb shanks will last for up to 4 months in the freezer and are great to pull out for a quick and easy comforting winter meal.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THESE BRAISED LAMB SHANKS:
Mash: I highly highly recommend that you serve these slow cooked lamb shanks with mash to sop up all of that yummy rich sauce. Trust me, you won’t want a drop of it to go to waste. I usually serve them with THE BEST Cauliflower Mash but potato mash or this Carrot & Butternut Squash Mash would also work.
Here are a few more date night/dinner party recipes that you might enjoy…
- Braised Short Ribs in an AMAZING Sauce
- Seared Scallops on Cauliflower Puree
- Coq no Vin
- Creamy Spinach Stuffed Salmon
- Crab & Shrimp Ravioli with Lemon Tomato Sauce
- Whole30 Braised Short Ribs
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
Braised Lamb Shanks
- 4 lamb shanks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup finely diced carrot
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 cups beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit (175º Celsius)
- Season the lamb shanks on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan on medium high heat and sear the shanks on all sides (approx 8 minutes). Once seared, set aside on a plate.
- Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrot to the pan and saute for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, beef stock, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper to the pan and give everything a stir. Bring to a gentle simmer. Once simmering return the lamb shanks to the pan and spoon some of the sauce overtop. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for an 1 1/2 hours.
- After 1 1/2 hours of cooking, flip the shanks over and return to the oven to cook for 1 more hour, but with the lid off (this will brown the shanks and help the sauce to thicken).
- After a total of 2 1/2 hours in the oven, the lamb shanks should be fall apart tender. Serve them with veggies or mash and lots of the sauce poured overtop.
Slow Cooker Braised Lamb Shanks
- Follow steps 2 and 3 above in a pot on the stove and then transfer the sauteed garlic and vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. Alternatively if your slow cooker has a saute function you can do steps 2 and 3 in the slow cooker.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, beef stock, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper to the pan and give everything a stir. Return the lamb shanks to the pan and spoon some of the sauce overtop. Cook them on high heat for 6 hours or low heat for 8 hours.
- Once the lamb is very tender, place the lamb shanks on a baking tray and keep warm in the oven (this will also help to caramelize the edges of the shanks). Turn the slow cooker back to sauté/sear (or alternatively pour all of the sauce in the slow cooker into a pot on the stove) and leave the sauce to simmer for 10-15 minutes until it has reduced by approximately half. Serve the lamb shanks with the sauce poured overtop.