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Braised Greek Lamb Shanks

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The long, slow braise magically transforms these Braised Greek Lamb Shanks into fall-off the bone, succulent morsels of deliciousness!  The braising liquid, infused with spices and fresh herbs reduces into a rich and savory sauce.  But it is the garlic and lemon juice that adds the ‘Mmm, good’ flavor to these lamb shanks and the savory sauce. 

Serving of lamb shank, mashed potato with pitcher of sauce in background

Garlic and lemons are common in Greek cuisine and these rich, savory lamb shanks go full-out with these potent flavors. These easy braised lamb shanks are just too good to be reserved for special events, enjoy them anytime or for a lazy, late-night Sunday dinner.

What are Lamb Shanks?

Lamb shanks are cut from the lower section of both the front and back of the animal’s legs.  Typically, the shank from the back leg will be larger and meatier.  The shank part of the animal gets a real work-out roaming in the pastures and is very muscular.  It takes a long, slow, cooking method to break down the connective tissues.  Braising is an excellent way to cook this cut of lamb.

Check out more of our easy braising recipes like these red wine braised beef short ribs or our cider-braised pork tenderloin with apples.

Are Lamb Shanks Expensive?

The lamb shank has been touted to be ‘budget-friendly’ because of their tough, muscle-y flesh.  This cut has grown in popularity and so too, up goes the price.  An average American lamb shank weighing 1-1/2 pounds will generally sell for about $10 per pound.  Personally, I find that more on the expensive side but I can’t resist and do work them into my budget occasionally.

How To Prepare Braised Greek Lamb Shanks:

This is so simple and there is very little hands-on as the oven does most of the work.  You will be rewarded with a wickedly delicious entrée of succulent, tender lamb!  This is the short version of the recipe, please scroll to the recipe card below for full instructions.

two lamb shanks in a cooking pot with a serving fork

Braising always begins with a good seasoning of the meat and a deep brown searing.  I love my Dutch oven for this because it is deep enough for the braising liquid which should cover three-quarters of the shanks.  

  • Step 1.  In a small dish combine the garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and paprika.   Sprinkle the lamb shanks generously with the spice mix, rubbing into the entire surface.
  • Step 2.  In a 6-quart Dutch oven or a deep, lidded pot, heat a bit of oil over medium-high heat.  Add the lamb shanks and sear them to a rich brown on all sides.  Transfer them to a plate.
  • Step 3.  Using the same pot, add the onion and cook until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the wine, broth and lemon juice.  With kitchen string tie the thyme and rosemary together and add to the pot. Stir in the oregano and the bay leaves.  
  • Step 4.  Return the seared lamb shanks to the pot.  The lamb shanks should be about 3/4 covered with the liquid, if not, add more broth or water.  Bring the pot to a boil, cover the pot and transfer to a preheated 325°F oven.  Cook until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  
  • Step 5.  Transfer the lamb shanks to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  

Make the Sauce:

  • Step 1.  Strain the cooking liquids through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with the back of a spoon.  Discard the solids left in the strainer, spoon off and discard as much of the fat as possible from the surface of the strained cooking liquids. 
  • Step 2. Return the strained braising liquids to the heat set over medium-high.  Bring the braising liquids to a boil and cook until reduced to about 2 cups. About 5-10 minutes.
  • Step 3.  Mix two tablespoons of cornstarch with a quarter cup of cold water and stir into the braising liquid.  Cook the sauce until lightly thickened, then transfer to a dish.
close up view of lamb shank and mashed potatoes/sauce

You will love these tender, meaty, lamb shanks served on a mound of mashed potatoes with that lemony, rich sauce drizzled over the top.  Yum! 

A lamb entrée in some form is an Easter tradition in our family. We always stretch out the table and squish together as many as fifteen family members for this event. Not so for this history-making Easter Sunday, it will be only my husband and myself on a house lock-down. ? We will miss being with our family for this annual Easter Sunday family event, but we will enjoy these braised Greek lamb shanks together!

Wishing everyone a very Blessed Easter! ❤️

SOME OTHER LAMB RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:

  • Garlic Rosemary Roasted Rack of Lamb: With a rich, buttery texture and unique flavor, a rack of lamb is an impressive entrée for a special dinner. Our Garlic Rosemary Roasted Rack of Lamb elevates this dinner from ‘special’ to extra-special’. 
  • Lamb Stew with Garlic Polenta: Our recipe for Lamb Stew with Garlic Polenta is soooo good!  The stew is full of tender chunks of lean lamb and vegetables that are swimming in an intense flavor-packed sauce made with wine and fresh herbs
  • Braised Herb Lamb Shanks: If you are a lamb lover like our family, I am betting you will love this recipe for Braised Herb Lamb Shanks!  The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and full of flavor from the herb blend, wine and beef broth.  And wait till you taste that sauce, it is perfect with mashed potatoes.

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close up view of lamb shank and mashed potatoes/sauce

Braised Greek Lamb Shanks

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

The long, slow braise magically transforms these Braised Greek Lamb Shanks into fall-off the bone, succulent morsels of deliciousness!  The braising liquid, infused with spices and fresh herbs reduces into a rich and flavorful sauce. 

Ingredients

  • 2 lamb shanks, 1-1/2 pounds each

For the Spice Rub:

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coarse ground salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups beef broth (homemade if possible)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoons dried Greek oregano
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325°F

For the Lamb Shanks:

  1. Place the lamb shanks on a work space and blot the moisture with paper towels.  
  2. In a small dish combine the garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.   Sprinkle the lamb shanks generously and rub into the surface.
  3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven, or a brasier pot set over medium-high heat. Add the lamb shanks and sear on all sides, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same pot add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the lemon juice, wine and beef broth. Toss in the bay leaves and the dried oregano.  With kitchen string tie the thyme and rosemary together and add to the pot.
  5. Return the seared lamb shanks to the pot.  The liquid should cover the shanks about 3/4, add more broth or water if necessary, and bring the pot to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven and cook until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  6. When the lamb shanks have become tender, carefully transfer them to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. 

To make the Sauce:

  1. Remove and discard the string with remaining herbs, strain the cooking liquids through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with the back of a spoon. 
  2. Discard the solids left in the strainer, spoon off and discard as much of the fat as possible from the surface of the strained cooking liquids. 
  3. Return the strained braising liquids to the heat set over medium-high.  Bring the braising liquids to a boil and cook until reduced to about 2 cups. About 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a small dish combine the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water, stirring until smooth.  Whisk the mixture into the braising liquid and cook until thickened. 
  5. Serve the lamb shanks in individual shallow bowls on top of mounds of mashed potatoes and garnished with chopped parsley.
  6. Transfer the sauce to a serving pitcher or dish to be served over the lamb shanks.

Notes

If you prefer to not use wine, substitute with additional beef broth or chicken broth.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 333Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 1780mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 16g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Carrie

Sunday 23rd of August 2020

I just emptied my freezer of about 10 pounds of lamb and followed this recipe to a “t”. Tender, flavorful, and better than you could get in any gourmet restaurant. Can’t believe I stumbled on this WINNER! Thanks!

Pat Nyswonger

Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Hi, Carrie....Thank you for the kudos and your feedback on this lamb shank recipe! I am so pleased that you like it. We have several other lamb shank recipes in our blog as lamb is my husbands favorite even more than beef!

Jeff the Chef

Monday 6th of April 2020

I love lamb, but I so rarely have it at home. Looks like nowadays, if I'm going to have it, I'm going to have to have it at home! So thanks for the recipe.

Pat Nyswonger

Monday 6th of April 2020

Hi, Jeff, Thanks for your comments....This will be a great dish for Easter dinner! Enjoy!

angiesrecipes

Sunday 5th of April 2020

Now it's a great time to enjoy lamb! I had some lamb forequarter today too. Mine was pretty simple with just water and black salt. Your braised shanks look so yummy, Dahn.

Pat Nyswonger

Sunday 5th of April 2020

Thank you, Angie....Lamb shanks are one of my favorite cuts of lamb and these lemony Greek shanks are really yummy!

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