RIS Braised American Lamb Shanks

RIS Braised American Lamb Shanks

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Credit: Ris Lacoste, Chef/Owner, RIS, Washington, D.C.
The National Culinary Review, April 2012

From the Chef

“Courtesy of the American Lamb Board”


Seasoning mix (2 parts salt/1 part freshly ground black pepper/1 part ground sumac)
6 (about 1¼ lbs. each) American lamb shanks
Olive oil, as needed
2 qts. coarse-chopped mirepoix (2 parts onion/1 part celery/1 part carrot)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves
2 T. whole black peppercorns
½ cup tomato paste
1 liter red wine (Shiraz or fruit-forward variety)
1 gal. veal or lamb stock
3 cups fresh spinach
12-18 pita crisps, toasted with olive oil and za’atar (preferably, thin Lebanese pita wraps)
12 oz. Greek yogurt
1 pomegranate
6 radishes, sliced
Mint sprigs, coarsely chopped and whole
Chickpeas (recipe follows)
Pine Nut Mix (recipe follows)

3 cups raw chickpeas
1 T. baking soda
Olive oil
2 cups finely diced onion
1 t. curry powder
1 t. turmeric
1 cheesecloth sachet of coriander seed/thyme/bay leaf

Pine Nut Mix
1 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden
Zest of 1 lemon
2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, roasted, minced
1 T. coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 T. coarsely chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil


1. Rub generous amount of seasoning mix into shanks; refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

2. When ready to braise, rinse shanks well, dry with paper towels. Heat braising pan; add thin layer of oil. Sear shanks on all sides until well-browned; remove from pan. Add mirepoix, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns; let sit to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Cook for 1-2 minutes; add tomato paste. Add wine; scrape pan bottom, deglazing seared juices. Reduce by ½. Return shanks to pan; add enough stock to almost cover. Bring to a boil on top of stove. Cook, uncovered, at 325ºF for 2-2¼ hours. (Meat should be tender but not overcooked.) While cooking, exposed parts of shank will get crusty; halfway through cooking, turn shanks so the caramelization can enhance the stock. Let shanks rest in cooking liquid; adjust with salt, if needed. Remove shanks; keep covered and warm. Strain stock; reduce to sauce consistency. Adjust seasoning, if needed.

3. To serve: Saute spinach in small amount of olive oil with salt and pepper. Place chickpeas in bottom of individual bowls; top with some spinach, a few pita crisps and dollop of yogurt. Place a shank on top; sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, radishes, mint and pine nut mix. Garnish with mint sprig.

Method: Soak chickpeas overnight sprinkled with baking soda and covered with water. Drain and rinse when ready to cook. In heavy-bottomed pot, add oil. Add onion; cook over medium heat until soft but not browned. Add curry powder and turmeric; toast with onion until aromatics are released, about 1 minute. Add cheesecloth sachet; cover chickpeas with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes. Skim top film occasionally. Adjust seasoning, if needed.

Pine Nut Mix
Method: In bowl, combine pine nuts, lemon zest, shallots, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper; add oil just to cover.


6 servings


Lamb, Main Dish, The National Culinary Review

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