Balsamic Braised Lamb Shanks are a traditional and delicious Easter main dish slow-cooked to a melt-in-your-mouth perfection with balsamic vinegar, wine, garlic, and rosemary.
Discover the ultimate fancy comfort food with these Balsamic Braised Lamb Shanks. Perfect for Easter or any special occasion, these lamb shanks are slowly cooked to tender, melt-off-the-bone perfection. Incorporating balsamic vinegar, wine, garlic, and rosemary creates a combo of flavors that will leave your taste buds craving more.
Why We Love This Lamb Shanks Recipe
- Tender Texture: The braising process ensures the lamb is as succulent as it is delicious.
- Easy Prep: Hands-on time is 10 minutes, all spent browning the lamb shanks and preparing the marinade. The rest of the time is just braising them in the oven.
- Elegant: Impress guests with a dish that looks gourmet but is surprisingly simple to prepare.
- Versatile for Special Occasions: Perfect for the holidays or a cozy family dinner, this dish brings warmth and joy to any table.
Ingredients For Balsamic Braised Lamb Shanks
- Lamb Shanks: I suggest using four for this recipe.
- Olive Oil: For browning the lamb and sautéing the onions.
- Yellow Onions
- STAR Balsamic Vinegar of Modena: A key ingredient, its oak-aged thickness adds a tangy, slightly sweet flavor and glaze-like consistency.
- Red Wine: Use your favorite to add body and complexity to the sauce.
- Chicken Broth: Provides the liquid base for braising, ensuring tender meat.
- Garlic Cloves
- Rosemary: Pairs really well with lamb.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
Real aged balsamic vinegar will have a thick pouring consistency, which we call a glaze. Thus, Balsamic Glaze pours thick like syrup. If you use balsamic vinegar that is the consistency of red wine vinegar, you will need to reduce it until it reaches a thick, syrupy consistency. It’s perfect for marinades or drizzled over meat, pasta, fish, salads, even pizza.
How To Braise Lamb Shanks
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Season the Lamb: Take the lamb shanks, rub them with a bit of olive oil, and generously season them with salt and pepper.
- Brown the Lamb: In a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the lamb shanks and brown them on all sides. Remove them from the pot and set them aside. In the same pot, add the onion wedges and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Prepare the Marinade: In a mixing bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, red wine, chicken broth, minced garlic, and rosemary leaves. Pour the marinade into the pot with the onions. Bring it to a boil, then return the lamb shanks to the pot.
- Braise in the Oven: Cover the pot with a lid, transfer it to the oven, and cook for 1.5 hours. Then, remove the lid, flip the lamb shanks to the other side, and continue to cook for 30 minutes without the lid.
Recipe Tips And Variations
- Herb Variations: Rosemary pairs nicely with lamb, but don’t hesitate to try thyme, oregano, or a combination of Provence herbs.
- Richer Sauce: Consider adding a splash of cream or a knob of butter towards the end of the cooking process.
- Balsamic Vinegar Consistency: If your balsamic vinegar isn’t as thick as desired, reduce it in a saucepan over low heat until it reaches a syrup-like consistency. This concentrates the flavors and ensures the right texture for the dish.
- Wine Selection: The choice of red wine can impact the flavor significantly. A full-bodied wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will add depth, while a lighter red like Pinot Noir can bring a more subtle nuance.
- Vegetable Additions: Consider adding carrots and celery along with the onions for an extra layer of flavor and texture. Chop them into large chunks so they can stand up to the long cooking time.
- Alternate Cooking Methods: If you prefer, this recipe can also be adapted for a slow cooker. Prepare the lamb and marinade as instructed, then transfer everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
What To Serve With Lamb
While mashed potatoes are a classic pairing, a bed of creamy lemon parmesan risotto is a tasty base for the lamb shanks. A mix of roasted root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes complements the rich flavors, and a flavorful mushroom rice pilaf can add texture. A good quality crusty focaccia bread is perfect for mopping up the delicious sauce!
Transfer the lamb shanks to an airtight container and store the container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze the lamb shanks for up to 3 months.
Delicious Lamb Recipes
- One Pot Oven Baked Risotto with Lamb Chops
- Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
- Roasted Rack of Lamb
- Roast Leg Of Lamb
Balsamic Braised Lamb Shanks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 4 lamb shanks
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 large yellow onions, cut in wedges
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
- 1 cup red wine (use your favorite one)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves only
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Rub the lamb shanks with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the remaining olive oil into a Dutch oven and warm it over medium-high heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown them on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the lamb shanks from the pot and set aside.
- Add the onions to the Dutch oven and cook for 2 minutes, frequently stirring, until the onions begin to soften.
- In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, prepare the marinade by combining balsamic vinegar, red wine, chicken broth, garlic, and rosemary leaves; mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour the marinade over the onions and return the lamb shanks to the pot; bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Cover with a lid, place in the oven, and cook for 1.5 hours.
- Remove the lid, gently flip the lamb shanks to the other side, and continue to cook for 30 more minutes, uncovered.
- Remove from oven and serve the lamb shanks over mashed potatoes drizzled with the cooking liquid.
- Balsamic Vinegar: If it’s too thin, reduce it to a syrup-like consistency. Authentic balsamic vinegar, like the one in this recipe, will have a thick pouring consistency. If you are using balsamic vinegar that’s the consistency of red wine vinegar, you will need to reduce it until it reaches a thick syrupy consistency.
- Herbs: You don’t have to use rosemary and can try the recipe with thyme, oregano, or sage for different flavors.
- Wine: Full-bodied or lighter wines both work, depending on the desired flavor depth.
- Add Vegetables: Carrots or celery can be included for extra flavor and texture.
- Slow Cooker Option: Adapt the recipe for a slow cooker and cook it for 6 to 8 hours on low.
- Serve with Variety: Pair with mashed potatoes, polenta, or risotto.
- Try Other Meats: Beef short ribs or pork shanks can substitute for lamb, but you’ll have to adjust the cooking time.
- Garnish: Add chopped parsley or lemon zest before serving for a fresh touch.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.