Simple Braised Lamb Shanks



  • olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme, or a scant 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup beef broth


  • Step 1

    Heat a dutch oven or pan with high sides over medium heat and add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom. Season the lamb shanks liberally with coarse salt and pepper, and then brown in the oil on all sides. Remove from the pot.

  • Step 2

    Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the onion to the pot, along with the thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown and slightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaf until the garlic is fragrant.

  • Step 3

    Increase the heat to medium-high, and then add the red wine to deglaze. Scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot, and then add the beef broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the lamb shanks back in, put a lid on the pot, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for at least an hour, preferably closer to 1.5 hours.

  • Step 4

    Remove the lid, increase the heat a bit, and cook an additional 20 minutes to allow the liquid to thicken. (If you want it even thicker, you could always make a water/corn starch slurry and boil it at the very end).

  • Step 5

    Plate the lamb shanks and spoon the reduced braising liquid over the top.