Many people just see lamb shanks as an obligatory item on the seder plate. However, they can make an incredibly tasty and indulgent meal. Lamb is infamous for being difficult to cook, but this recipe requires minimal effort for amazing results — the meat just falls right off the bone. This method can easily be used on a bone-in shoulder of lamb, too. I added dates to this recipe to help thicken and sweeten the sauce, and as on ode to another seder staple: haroset, since I usually have a few dates leftover from making mine! I suggest serving this with mashed potatoes to soak up all the sauce.
Note: If using kosher lamb, which is very salty, I recommend not salting the lamb itself and just seasoning it with pepper, although definitely make sure to season the sauce to your taste.
- 4-6 lamb shanks
- 1¾ cups red wine
- ¼ cup grape juice
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 6 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 head of garlic, cut in half width-ways
- 6-8 shallots, cut in half lengthways
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 1½ cups vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- sea salt
- ground black pepper
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 330 degrees F (165 degrees C). If your lamb shanks have been frozen and thawed, rinse them under cold water to avoid the “lamb-y” smell that’s often associated with cooking lamb.
- Pat the lamb shanks dry with a paper towel and season them with ground black pepper. Place a large ovenproof casserole pot on medium-high heat and heat a Tbsp olive oil. Sear the lamb shanks until lightly browned on all sides, remove the pot from the heat, and transfer the lamb shanks to a plate. You may need to do this in batches.
- Once the pot has cooled slightly, add the shallots and bay leaves and allow the shallots to caramelize slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix. Add the wine and deglaze the pot by scraping any of the caramelization from the bottom. Then add the grape juice, dates, cinnamon, chili, and 2 sprigs rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the stock, mix well, then place the lamb shanks back in the pot, along with the garlic halves. If you don’t have a big enough pot, you can sear the lamb shanks and then transfer them to a baking dish and cover them with the liquid.
- Cover with foil or a tight fitting lid and place in the preheated oven for 2.5-3 hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, the dates have melted, and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce has not thickened as much as you’d like it to, remove the shanks from the pot and place the pot back onto the stove, then simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce has reduced to your preference.
- Season once more to taste with salt and pepper (and more chili flakes if desired) and lightly toss 2 more more sprigs of rosemary through the sauce before serving.