Chef John's Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe -
Chef John's Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe
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How to Make Braised Lamb Shanks
Watch Chef John make succulent, fragrant, slightly spicy lamb shanks. See more

Chef John's Braised Lamb Shanks

Recipe by  

"You don't often see lamb cooked with these spices, but they really work together wonderfully. The final plate ended up being a sort of North African/Central American fusion thing, with the fragrantly spiced meat and peppers resting on a simple bed of couscous."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    2 hrs 10 mins

    2 hrs 25 mins


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Generously season lamb shanks with salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place lamb shanks in the Dutch oven, cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer shanks to a plate. Drain off remaining oil and fat so only 1 tablespoon remains in the Dutch oven.
  3. Stir onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt into the Dutch oven; decrease heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until onions are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder, and ground cinnamon; stir to combine.
  4. Pour 1 cup chicken broth over onion mixture. Increase heat to high; when liquid boils, place lamb shanks in Dutch oven. Cover and cook in the preheated oven for 90 minutes.
  5. Remove Dutch oven and stir in jalapeno pepper, red bell pepper and 1/2 cup chicken stock; bring to a boil on the stovetop. Return pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, until lamb shanks are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer lamb to plate.
  6. Place Dutch oven on the stovetop over high heat; bring liquid to a boil and cook, skimming off any foam, until liquid is reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over lamb shanks and serve.
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Reviews More Reviews

Jan 02, 2014

My son liked this so much I made it twice in one week. This was the first recipe that I tried in my new dutch oven - it's one of those ceramic coated cast iron deals - and it was perfect for this recipe. I did not alter this recipe. Be sure to use BOTH the chipotle AND ancho chili powders. The cinnamon is what takes this to Africa and makes it a real gem of a dish.

Aug 26, 2012

So awesome my family loves it. Normally make Kebsa, this is now my new favorite lamb dish. I bought the imusa from the video it works Great!


5 Ratings

Nov 07, 2013

Made as written. Great recipe, even for an amateur like me.

Apr 12, 2013

This was pretty good. I omitted the hot peppers and added a tsp of crushed red pepper instead for a milder flavor. Also I didn't have any tomato paste so I diced a 1/2 thick slice of fresh tomato and added that to the onion sauce.


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  • Calories
  • 295 kcal
  • 15%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 9.9 g
  • 3%
  • Cholesterol
  • 91 mg
  • 30%
  • Fat
  • 15.2 g
  • 23%
  • Fiber
  • 2.3 g
  • 9%
  • Protein
  • 28.4 g
  • 57%
  • Sodium
  • 442 mg
  • 18%

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

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