Slow-Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shanks

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shank
The Spruce
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 35 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yields: 4 lamb shanks
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
881 Calories
60g Fat
12g Carbs
71g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 881
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 60g 76%
Saturated Fat 24g 119%
Cholesterol 258mg 86%
Sodium 471mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 71g
Calcium 127mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although not the most popular of meats in American cuisine, lamb has long been a favorite in dishes around the world, especially in Mediterranean cuisine. Easy to prepare and flavorful, lamb gives a sweeter, earthier taste to recipes that call for beef. Lamb shanks are cut from the leg of the animal, containing a central bone surrounded by hearty meat. They are more inexpensive than other cuts of lamb.

While some cuts of lamb are delicious cooked briefly at high heat (like grilling), lamb shanks are a different matter. Braising is a better option since the meat tends to be a little tougher, and low and slow cooking renders it fork-tender. This slow-roasted lamb shank recipe is such a great and easy way to enjoy lamb. It only requires a few ingredients, and even though it takes some time, it's almost all hands-off.

You'll need to plan a few hours to prepare ahead for this recipe to allow the lamb to slow-roast, but it will be time well-spent. Serve with mashed potatoes or grain to soak up the juices.

Ingredients

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 6 cloves garlic (unpeeled, the skin pierced with the tip of a knife)
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 450 F.

    Slow-Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shanks Ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Place the shanks in a roasting pan just large enough to fit them in one layer and rub with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, or to taste. 

    Seasoned Lamb Shanks
     The Spruce
  3. Roast for 20 minutes to get a nice brown color. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 325 F.

    Slow-Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shanks
     The Spruce
  4. While waiting for the oven to cool down, spoon out any excess fat and scatter the garlic cloves and rosemary over and around the lamb.

    Slow-Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shanks
     The Spruce
  5. Wrap the braising or roasting pan very tightly with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil (remember: you want as tight a seal as possible), and return to the oven. Roast the lamb for an additional 2 hours. Resist the temptation to open the foil and check on it until the 2 hours are up because you'll increase the risk of the meat becoming too tough.

    Covering the lamb shanks with tinfoil
    The Spruce 
  6. Remove the foil, pour in the chicken broth, and turn the heat up to 400 F. Roast for 15 minutes, and remove. The lamb shanks are done cooking when they are nicely browned and fork-tender.

    Slow-Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shanks with chicken broth
     The Spruce
  7. Transfer the lamb shanks to a serving platter and spoon over the juices, garlic cloves, and rosemary.

    Slow-Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shanks
    The Spruce 

How Much Meat Does the Average Lamb Shank Yield?

An average 1-pound lamb shank will yield about 7 1/2 to 8 ounces of meat (uncooked). One lamb shank will serve from 1 to 2 people, depending on the size of the shank and appetite.

How Tender Is the Meat on a Lamb Shank?

Lamb shank meat has a good deal of connective tissue, making it a tough meat. Long, slow roasting or braising breaks the tissue down, making the meat melt-in-your mouth tender.

Tips

  • For a neater, more attractive look, sever the tendon near the top of the narrow end of the lamb shank or French the shank by cutting away the top 1/2-inch of meat and tendon.
  • If you are roasting the lamb shanks in a braising dish or Dutch oven with a lid, you can use that instead of aluminum foil. Just make sure the lid is tight-fitting to prevent the meat from becoming dried out.
  • While achieving a certain internal temperature is often a concern when cooking meat, you don't need a thermometer for this recipe. Lamb shanks are cooked for a long period of time and will register well above the minimum safe temperature.
  • If your lamb shanks are not fork-tender after following this recipe, you can put them back in the oven. Shanks tend to get more tender the longer you cook them, but they will begin to dry out and overcook if you roast them for too long.
  • The soft garlic cloves can be squeezed out of their skins and spread on the lamb. This will add a wonderful, more intense flavor.

Recipe Variation

  • If you don't have fresh rosemary, use sprigs of fresh thyme.

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