Braised Lamb Shanks

  • Serves

    serves 4


Redolent of rosemary, chiles, and balsamic vinegar, this sweet-and-sour dish is based on one from McGill College student Amanda Garbut.


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 14 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch


Step 1

Season lamb with salt and pepper to taste. Combine chili powder, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Season lamb with 2 1⁄2 tbsp. spice mixture; set remaining spice mixture aside. Heat oil in a 6-quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, sear lamb shanks on all sides until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate; set aside.

Step 2

Heat oven to 350˚. Return dutch oven to medium-high heat and add carrots, celery, jalapeños, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and remaining spices. Stir occasionally, scraping up browned bits, until the vegetables soften, about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated, about 12 minutes. Nestle lamb in pot and pour in chicken broth. Season broth with salt to taste and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook until very tender, about 2 1⁄2 hours.

Step 3

With tongs, transfer lamb to 4 large bowls. Strain braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a 2-quart saucepan. Discard the herbs and half of the vegetables. Strew remaining vegetables around the lamb shanks and cover each with aluminum foil.

Step 4

Skim fat from braising liquid with a large spoon. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1⁄2 cup cold water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into braising liquid, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until 6 cups liquid remain, about 10 minutes. Ladle some of the braising liquid over lamb and serve warm.

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