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Slightly Dangerous Braised Lamb Shank

This one has a bit of a strange inception. It was actually inspired by Karen, from Living Low Carb, One Day at a Time. She attended the Annual Low Carb Cruise, but didn't want to leave her blog unattended while she was away. She sought some guest authors and I responded. Around the same time, Karen had placed a Lamburger on her website with the comment she's new to lamb. About the same time I went to an Italian restaurant and ordered a gigantic lamb shank. This was the special of the evening and came highly recommended by the server. I LOVE lamb (I almost typed lamp. Whoops. I love lamp. I LOVE LAMP!) ...

Most of the time I eat lamb rack or leg. It's not often that I eat shank. Frankly, it's not offered very often. It just slips my mind! While I definitely subscribe to a lot of the Paleo ideologies, I don't embrace them as closely as Karen does. In knowing I was about to do a guest post for Karen, while eating this soft, mouthwatering lamb shank, I decided I wanted to shank it up for her! In my mind, I thought it would be fun to write a guest post as Karen, the cavewoman. A big piece of meat, with a gignomous bone sticking out of it seemed right up her alley; a cute idea, anyway. I decided to take the flavors a little south of Italy, into Morocco, also adding some dried fruits and orange juices (hence the DANGER!). PERFECT!

After I made it, I really thought about it and came to the conclusion that while it's a thoroughly (truly amazing, actually!) delicious dish, it's probably not terribly approachable for most. Not only are shanks be a bit tough to find, but it takes a while and lamb has a tendency to be on the gamey side, scaring many off. (Sidenote: this dish is NOT gamey!) I really wanted to give Karen something that would fit her site, but ALSO something with a little more wide-spread appeal. Thus, I went for the equally amazing brown butter pie! (part 2, here).

To make a long story short, here's the recipe! I can't stress enough how special this dish is. The flavors and spice, slowly simmering with these smooth, almost "buttery" pieces of bony shank ... are MORE than worth the time it takes to make. If you've ever got a special evening on the horizon, you could do MUCH MUCH worse than this. Just spectacular ... truly.

Note: Photos taken with Moroccan Eggplant Hash and Raita. Also note that this looks AWESOME in person. The brown platter, while really a cool plate, drowns out the shank, sad-to-say. Don't let that diminish the delight this will bring!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time5 hrs
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 1049.1783333333kcal
Author: DJ Foodie


  • 6 each lamb shanks (hind quarters if possible)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seed ground
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ground
  • 2 tbsp light oil (coconut oil ghee, olive ... or even bacon fat!)
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 each garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced or grated
  • 1 cup red wine good quality
  • 1 each orange
  • 3 cup beef stock or broth (natural and unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup dried figs coarsely chopped
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  • Season your lamb shanks with a coat of cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  • Heat a wide pot (with a lid), like a Dutch Oven, over medium-high heat.
  • Add oil to the pan and swirl it around. Add your lamb shanks to the pan and evenly sear all sides of the shanks. Once they are nice and browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.
  • In the still hot pan, add your onions, carrots, garlic and ginger, with a little salt and pepper. Stir the vegetables around until soft. A little color from the heat of the pan is ok. Allow to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Deglaze with the red wine and reduce by about half.
  • While the wine is reducing, with a vegetable peeler, peel a few strips of the orange zest from the very outer layer of the orange. Throw those in the pot, then juice the orange. Add the orange juice to the pot, along with the beef stock and figs.
  • Add your shanks back to the pan and turn it on VERY low heat. You want an incredibly slow simmer. Allow the shanks to braise for about 4 hours. The meat will be soft and falling off the bone. Start checking at about 3 hours, but will likely take between 4 or 5 hours.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove the shanks and vegetables from the pot. Set somewhere warm. Turn the heat up on the pot and reduce by about half, or until noticeably thick.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve the lamb shanks with the carrots and onions, along with the sauce.


Serving: 6g | Calories: 1049.1783333333kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.311666666667g | Protein: 88.396666666667g | Fat: 65.133333333333g | Fiber: 2.5733333333333g