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Braised Lamb Shank


According to Dakota Soifer, chef at Café Aion in Boulder, “Recipes that take a few days, while certainly requiring more planning, seem more special, are great for holidays and special events, and always are worth the wait!” This lamb shank recipe will take you right through the entire holiday season, an impressive alternative to turkey, brisket or ham.


• 1 lamb shank (2 lbs)

• 1/2 tsp cumin, ground

• 1/2 tsp coriander, ground

salt and pepper to taste

• 2 T olive oil

• 6 shallots, kept whole and peeled

• 3 carrots, roll-cut

• 8 cloves of garlic

• 1 sprig of rosemary

• 6 cardamom pods

• 1/2 tsp cumin, ground

• 1/2 tsp coriander, ground

• 1 cinnamon stick

• 2 chili de arbol or similar dried

spicy pepper

• 1 T tomato paste

• 1/2 C red wine

• 1 qt chicken stock


For best results this is a three-day process.

Day 1: Season the lamb shank with salt, pepper and the ground spices. Cover and refrigerate.

Day 2 (big day): Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Select a braising pot that is just big enough to hold the shank and has a lid. Over a medium-high heat bring the oil in the pot to its smoking point, almost. Sear the shank to a dark golden (about 4-5 minutes) on each side. Remove it from the pan and add the vegetables. After 2 minutes, toss in the other spices, rosemary and garlic allowing them to toast and become aromatic from the hot oil. After an additional 5 minutes, stir in the tomato paste coating everything and allowing it to lightly caramelize. Dump in the wine, stir vigorously then add the stock. Return the lamb shank to the pot and bring the whole mixture to simmer. Put the lid on the pot and place it in the oven. After 2 hours, check the shank. The meat should be tender, almost falling off the bone. Let the pot cool to room temp and refrigerate over night. Allowing the shank to cool and rest in the braising liquid lets the moisture and flavors re-enter the lamb.

Day 3: When you’re almost ready to eat, warm the lamb and liquid over medium heat, basting occasionally for 15 minutes. We like to serve the lamb with soft polenta and sauteed chard. But serve it alongside anything: quinoa, potatoes or couscous. Enjoy!


Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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