Saba-Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe -
Saba-Braised Lamb Shanks  Recipe
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Saba Braised Lamb Shanks
Succulent, tender lamb shanks braised with a savory Italian secret ingredient. See more
  • READY IN ABOUT 4 hrs

Saba-Braised Lamb Shanks

Recipe by  

"If you're looking for a foolproof, wintry braised meat dish, this is virtually impossible to screw up! The only way to screw this up is to undercook the meat. The sauce has no thickeners, just pure 100% natural goodness."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    3 hrs 30 mins

    3 hrs 50 mins


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Place lamb shanks into a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and rosemary. Toss the lamb shanks to spread oil and seasonings over the meat.
  3. Spread onion slices and garlic cloves into the bottom of a heavy 9x12-inch baking dish. Lay lamb shanks over onions and garlic.
  4. Bake lamb in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
  5. Combine chicken broth and saba in a bowl. Pour mixture over the lamb shanks. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and place baking dish on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake lamb in the oven until a knife pierces the meat easily, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat will be tender but not falling off the bone. Use tongs to turn the shanks over in the pan sauce. Increase temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  7. Return shanks to oven and bake, uncovered, until meat is fork-tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn shanks over in the sauce after 10 minutes and check for tenderness; if still not tender enough, return to oven for 10 to 15 more minutes and test again.
  8. Transfer lamb shanks to a bowl and keep warm. Strain pan juices into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Skim any excess grease from top of sauce. Taste and season with salt; stir in fresh rosemary. Serve sauce drizzled over lamb shanks.
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  • Cook's Note:
  • Saba is a sweet syrup made with the remnants ('must') from the winemaking process. It's similar to an aged balsamic vinegar. You can find it very easily online or at the fancy cheese or gourmet shop.
  • You can substitute an aged balsamic vinegar for the saba.

Reviews More Reviews

Mar 06, 2014

Needed to cook this longer.

Apr 17, 2015

Couldn't fine Saba not even at Total Wine store SO I used Balsamic. I didn't notice it at the end, but this was very good. Next time I'll try without vinegar to se if there is a difference


13 Ratings

Jan 23, 2015

This was quite the gourmet dish. I pressure cooked a 3 lamb shanks, used a full body red wine instead of Saba. The flavor was out of this world. I will definitely make this again.

Nov 24, 2014

This recipe was so good my hubby and I went and bought an entire lamb for the freezer. Can't wait to try it again. I did use basalmic vinegar instead as I had no car to run out and buy saba but I will look for it to have on hand for next time. Thanks Chef John AS USUAL!

Sep 21, 2014

I had never cooked lamb before, and thought this recipe sounded perfect for my first try. This is an awesome recipe, and the lamp turned out amazing! The meat was so tender it fell right off of the bone, and the flavor was absolutely delicious! **I couldn't find Saba at the grocery store, so I used Fini Modena reduction of Balsamic Vinegar with Porcini Mushrooms. FANTASTIC!!

Feb 13, 2014

Made this for our monthly cook club and it was a big big hit. Even my buddy who said "I don't like lamb" loved it. When they showed up at the house the smell made him a believer. LOL. Also just a note I followed the recipe to the letter and it turned out perfectly. Cooking it until it was really tender was the key. ;) Now, I just need a couple more recipes to use up the other 2/3 of a bottle of Saba. heh. Thanks Chef John. Keep those great recipes coming.

Jun 20, 2015

Loved it. Husband loved it too.

May 06, 2015

I've never reviewed a recipe before but just had to. This was delicious and tasted like it had been made with the finest wine. Meat literally fell off the bone. Can't wait to make again!


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  • Calories
  • 338 kcal
  • 17%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 10.1 g
  • 3%
  • Cholesterol
  • 84 mg
  • 28%
  • Fat
  • 20.6 g
  • 32%
  • Fiber
  • 1.5 g
  • 6%
  • Protein
  • 26.2 g
  • 52%
  • Sodium
  • 1275 mg
  • 51%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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