Braised Lamb Shanks


Cold weather cooking in Maine involves a lot more animal proteins then any other time of the year for us. One of my favorite techniques is braising, which produces a tender,  "fall of the bone" end product. A dish like this can be slowly simmered on top of our wood stove, or on a low setting in our oven. One of our favorite farms, Swallowtail Farm and Creamery, produces 100% grass fed lamb and I was lucky enough to pick up a few shanks from a work trade. The succulent meat pairs well with fresh herbs like rosemary and sage, mashed root veg or potatoes, and a big glass of Cabernet Savingnon. Braised Lamb Shanks

Serves 2


  • 2 Lamb Shanks
  • 2 tsp Fennel Seed, ground
  • 2 Carrots, large dice
  • 3 Celery sticks, large dice
  • 1 large Onion, large dice
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces Red Wine
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 2 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 quart Chicken Stock or Water
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped Rosemary


  1. Season the lamb shanks with the fennel seed and a liberal amount of sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat a 6 qt Dutch Oven over high heat. Add a few Tablespoons of olive oil and once hot add the shanks. Brown well on all sides then remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add a few more Tablespoons of oil then add your carrots, celery, and onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Pour in the wine, scrap the bottom of the pan and allow to reduce by half.
  6. Add in the shanks, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick, then pour in the chicken stock.
  7. Allow the liquid to come to a boil, then cover and place in a 325F oven.
  8. Cook for 2.5 hours. At this point, the shanks should be nice and tender and ready to eat.

To Create the sauce, strain out the liquid into a pot and bring to a boil. Allow the flavorful stock to reduce until it coats the back of a spoon.

Serve the shanks over polenta, mashed potatoes, or roasted root vegetables and the fresh rosemary. Enjoy!