No matter how many times I use my Instant Pot, it’s always a surprise when I can cook a hefty piece of meat (or four of them, in this case) in about an hour. For these lamb shanks, I clean out the spice cabinet, using cinnamon, sumac, coriander, cumin and garlic powder to deliver big flavor that can stand up to the gaminess of lamb shanks. Creamy polenta, quinoa or mashed potatoes are perfect starchy sides for soaking up all the rich gravy that accompanies the tender, braised meat.
While this is a lovely meal to serve for a seder or during Passover, my move is to make this dish the week before so that I have a shank bone for the seder plate. In fact, you’ll have four of them, so ask around to see if your friends need one. Roast the bone in a hot oven, and then scrape off any extra bits of meat once it has cooled.
- 4 lamb shanks
- 4-5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp sumac
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 8 saffron threads
- 1 onion, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 cups red wine
- 6 carrots, diced
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Remove packaging from lamb shanks, and pat dry with paper towels. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and all the spices except saffron. Cover the lamb shanks in the spice mixture, and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Set up an Instant Pot to the side of the stove. Steep saffron in ¼ cup warm water, and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Sear lamb shanks on all sides to get a nice dark brown crust. Place seared lamb in the Instant Pot and put the lid on top to keep the heat inside. If necessary, heat another 1 tablespoon of oil in the dutch oven, and add onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, and then deglaze the pan with 2 cups red wine, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, and add carrots, beef stock, saffron with liquid and bay leaves. Pour contents of the dutch oven over the lamb shanks.
- Set Instant Pot to Pressure Cook on High for 50 minutes. Turn Venting Knob to Sealing position. Cook lamb shanks for 50 minutes, and then allow to naturally release for 15 minutes. Open the lid. Remove lamb shanks, and keep warm. Drain cooking liquid, reserving onions and carrots for serving. Skim as much fat as possible from the cooking liquid. Combine water and cornstarch to make a slurry. Add strained liquid back to the instant pot, and heat using the sauté function until simmering. Add slurry, and whisk gently until the sauce thickens.
- Serve 1 shank per person with carrots, onions, and sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley.