About lamb shanks

Lamb shanks are cut from the lower, shin portion of the animal’s leg. This is a hard-working area of the animal, so the shank is very tough. However, it’s also full of flavour and becomes succulently tender when slowly braised. Braising means cooking the main ingredients, lamb in this case, in a covered dish surrounded with by flavourful liquid. As the lamb cooks, steam rises from the liquid and tenderizes the meat. Full-flavoured lamb shanks are best braised with equally robust ingredients, such as rich stock, garlic, tomatoes, spices and herbs, as in the mouth-watering recipe below.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Hot Mustard, Rosemary and Whisky

Rich-tasting lamb is made even richer in this recipe by slow-cooking it in a full-flavoured mix of ingredients, including spicy mustard and smoky-tasting whisky. This recipe is from my latest book, Everyone Can Cook for Celebrations. See books page for more information.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil
  • 6 lamb shanks, each about 10 oz (300 g) 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 (28 oz./796 mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250 mL) beef stock mixed with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) flour
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) hot English-style mustard
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2–3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) Scotch whisky

Preheat the oven to 325˚F (160˚C).

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Deeply brown the lamb on all sides and place in a single layer in a large casserole. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the lamb. Cover tightly with foil and transfer to the oven.

Braise the lamb in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Skim off any fat from the surface of the lamb. Serve the lamb with the sauce on individual plates.