Lamb Shanks With Wine Sauce

“A deliciously robust and easy meat dish for company, which can easily be made two days ahead, as the flavour improves. Shanks (cut from the back leg part) are usually not as expensive as other parts. Weights and measures are NOT set in stone, and the final sauce must be adjusted to your taste. In our house this is a winner in all seasons! One shank per adult, at almost 1 lb each, sounds like a lot, but it contains a large bone and shrinks quite a bit during baking.”
3hrs 45mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat oven to 300 deg F/140 deg Celsius.
  2. In a suitable dish, arrange the shanks tightly together. Pour over the wine and water. Sprinkle or tear over the rosemary, also tucking some sprigs underneath them. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 2 - 3 hours. Check for doneness after 2 hours: you want tender shanks, but NOT QUITE falling off the bone. This will depend on age of sheep and thickness of shanks.
  3. While lamb bakes, combine broth/stock, red wine, chopped onion, sugar, soy, balsamic and worcestershire sauce in a fairly large pot.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil, do not cover pot, and let boil for about 30 minutes plus, until it has reduced to roughly 1 1/2 cups or less.
  5. When the broth has reduced and thickened slightly, add the lemon zest.
  6. You will have to taste the sauce now: for us, the sugar-acid balance is just right, but it might not be for you. Adjust, using the lemon you used for zest if you want more acidity. Stir the parsley into the sauce.
  7. Also depending on taste, the sauce might need more salt. I find it's usually not necessary. Add coarse black pepper to taste.
  8. In the meantime lift the shanks with a slotted spoon and put into a serving dish. If there is any liquid from the shanks, keep for another purpose.
  9. Spoon the sauce over the meat.
  10. Keep lightly covered with foil, in a warming oven, before serving. The sauce will mellow on standing, if there is time.
  11. Garnish to taste, with extra lemon rind, or chopped parsley, or chopped spring onions.
  12. This dish needs tender broken-open jacket potatoes or rice, plus simple steamed vegetables such as young green beans and carrots. Choose a robust wine which can stand up to the flavours of the meat and sauce.
  13. Serves 4. Can easily be halved.

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