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What can be better than tender, fall off the bone, lamb in a rich and flavoursome mint gravy. These minted lamb shanks are special enough to impress guests at a dinner party but also easy enough to make for a hearty family meal.
What are lamb shanks?
Lamb shanks are cut from the shin of the lamb. You can get either fore shanks which are the front shanks, or hind shanks which come from the back legs. Hind shanks are typically larger and are the shanks you will most commonly find in restaurants and supermarkets (although you may come across fore shanks too).
Many people think lamb shanks fall into the domain of restaurants, but cook them at home and you’ll see how incredibly easy they are to make (and cheap!) They do take a little time which may be off-putting, but once they are in the oven the hard work is done and you can enjoy the amazing smell wafting around your house as an added bonus!
Can you overcook lamb shanks?
The shank is a tough piece of meat, with a lot of connective tissues. Therefore, they need to be slow-roasted or braised (as we do in this recipe) for an extended period of time to get that luxuriously tender result.
One of the most amazing things about lamb shanks is that they are almost impossible to overcook. If you leave them in the oven for an extra hour or so they will still be melt-in-the-mouth tender when you pull them out. On a side note though – once you’ve removed the foil during the cooking then don’t leave them in longer than directed. If so you’ll end up with an evaporated sauce and a caramelised brown sludge instead of rich silky gravy.
What is braising?
Braising is the process of cooking meat slowly while partly submerged in liquid after it has been browned over a dry heat (such as by searing it in a pan). This method is particularly good for cooking large pieces of meat for a long period of time.
You can braise things in the oven or on the hob/stove. Or you can even use your slow cooker. Typically you use a covered dish such as a dutch oven or a deep baking dish covered with foil.
How do you know when they are done?
You can tell these minted lamb shanks are done when the meat comes away from the bone easily and is easily pulled apart with two forks.
What can I serve them with?
You can serve this up with so many things. A perfect choice is potatoes to help soak up all that beautiful gravy and some roasted veg. Some crusty bread on the side never hurts either – to help mop up all the sauce…
Some ideas to try include:
- Garlic and leek mashed potatoes
- Lemon & thyme roasted potatoes
- Parsnip and rosemary mashed potatoes
- Roasted tenderstem broccoli
- Balsamic roasted Mediterranean veg
Ingredients & Substitutions
You just need a handful of simple ingredients to make these minted lamb shanks. For a full list of ingredients with measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.
- Lamb shanks, bone-in – around 400g / 14oz each is perfect
- Onion, brown or white – finely diced
- Red wine – alternatively swap for some beef or lamb stock (although the alcohol burns our during cooking and it adds amazing flavour!
- Mint sauce – ready-made, jarred sauce works perfectly
- Fresh rosemary – chopped. Fresh is best but in a pinch, you can use dried. If you are using dried herbs reduce the amount by half.
How to make it
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
- In a large dutch oven or frying pan/skillet sear the lamb all over until well browned. Set aside.
- Fry the onion until lightly browned and then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the wine and reduce by half. Then add the stock, mint sauce and rosemary and stir together.
- If using a dutch oven return the lamb to the pot and cover. If not add the lamb to a deep baking dish and pour over the sauce and cover with foil.
- Cook in the oven for 2.5 hours, removing the lid or foil for the last 30 minutes.
- Remove the lamb and cover with foil. Strain the sauce through a mesh sieve into a saucepan and skim the fat from the top. Simmer until reduced to the consistency you want.
- Serve the lamb with the sauce spooned over.
Other lamb dishes you will love:
- Minted lamb chops
- Slow roast lamb shoulder
- Lamb mince stuffed aubergines
- Lamb steak with feta and mint gnocchi
- Lamb, chestnut and cranberry stew
- Apricot lamb tagine
Products that work well for this recipe:
Cole & Mason Mezzaluna / Herb Chopper
Cole & Mason Herb Keeper
Set of 2 Small Sauce Boats / Jugs
Minted Lamb Shanks
- Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
What is be better than tender, fall off the bone, minted lamb shanks in a rich gravy? Special enough to impress guests & easy enough for a family dinner.
The default recipe serves 2
- 2 lamb shanks (around 400g / 14oz each)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
- 250ml / 1 cup red wine
- 250ml / 1 cup chicken stock
- 60ml / 1/4 cup mint sauce
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and pat the lamb shanks dry with kitchen roll and season well.
- Heat half the olive oil in a large dutch oven or a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Sear the lamb shanks as best you can until browned all over and then remove and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil and add the onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes until softened and starting to highly brown and then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the red wine and simmer until reduced by half.
- Pour in the stock, rosemary and mint sauce and stir everything together to combine. Season well.
- If you are using a dutch oven then return the lamb to the liquid. Alternatively, place the lamb in a deep baking dish and pour over the liquid. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 3 hours.
- 30 minutes before the lamb is ready, remove the foil or lid and return to the oven. Keep the foil for the next step.
- Remove the shanks and set them on a plate, covered with the foil. Strain the sauce into a saucepan through a mesh sieve, pressing with a wooden spoon to push through all the rich sauce. Skim the fat off the top, bring to a simmer and reduce until you have the consistency you want.
- Serve the lamb shanks with the sauce spooned over.
- Brown the meat as well as you can as a deeper colour will give not only extra visual depth to the dish, but added flavour too!
- If you don’t want to add alcohol then you can substitute the red wine for extra stock – ideally beef stock although any will work.
- Fresh rosemary works best for this recipe but if you can only use dried then use just half the amount.
- The shanks are ready when you can easily pull the meat apart with two forks. If it’s still a little tough then simply cook it for a little longer.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Hob / Oven
- Cuisine: British
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 760
- Fat: 26g
- Carbohydrates: 22g
- Protein: 81g
Keywords: dinner, lamb, easy, slow cooked, braised, meat, indulgent