When I think of traditional Easter recipes; lamb always comes to mind. For some reason (most likely my mother’s old Betty Crocker cookbook), I envision a vintage 1950’s table setting with a perfectly roasted leg of lamb, a side of bright green mint jelly and a jiggling aspic. This Easter lamb shanks recipe is a great way to feature lamb without a lot of fuss.
A leg of lamb can be daunting…and expensive (and not very practical for a small family). Lamb shanks are a much more affordable option for Easter. Whether you have a large gathering this Easter or a small one, lamb shanks are easy to cook and come out of the oven fork-tender and delicious. I often see lamb shanks on sale at my local grocery store for a few dollars apiece, but I scored these for only a few cents more from a local organic & grass-fed farm co-op.
If you want a fancy presentation, you can spend some extra time frenching the lamb shanks. This involves removing the meat and fat from the bottom of the shank; exposing the bone so when the shanks are cooked, they look like a big drumstick. I don’t bother, though. They look just fine like they are.
This Easter lamb shanks recipe only takes about 15 minutes to prep. It cooks in the oven for several hours and creates its own flavorful sauce full of carrots, celery, onion and herbs. I like to serve it with saffron rice but it will work equally well with mashed or roasted potatoes.
I have to mention (with some disbelief) that this is my first lamb recipe on Love and Duck Fat. This blog will be a year old in 5 months, so it’s about time. I cook with lamb fairly regularly so expect to see a few more before the big anniversary.
Happy Easter! -Marni
Easter Lamb Shanks Recipe
- 4 lamb shanks
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, (whole or minced)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (plus sprigs for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes + juice
- 2 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 cup dry red wine
Season lamb well with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet and add the olive oil. Sear lamb on medium-high heat until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the lamb from the skillet.Add the onions to the skillet. Cook and stir, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the lamb, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, broth and wine to the roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with foil and cook at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. for 3 hours, turning the meat once. Check during cooking to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan to ensure the shanks are halfway submerged. Add more water if needed.
To serve, remove shanks from the sauce. Remove the bay leaf. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper if necessary. You can use the sauce as-is (chunky) or puree with added broth to make a smoother consistency.