This is an excellent example of the way braising benefits tough cuts—lamb shanks are slowly simmered in a flavorful liquid until the meat starts to fall off the bones. Mashed beans thicken the sauce, while lemon juice brightens it.
4 (12-ounce) lamb shanks, trimmed
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 cups (1-inch) cubed carrot
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon dried sage
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
How to Make It
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of lamb to pan, and cook 9 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove lamb from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining lamb.
Add onion and carrot to pan; cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add rind and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); cook 5 minutes. Add lamb and broth; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until lamb is very tender.
Remove lamb and vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Place a large zip-top plastic bag inside an 8-cup glass measure or bowl. Pour broth mixture into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag, and carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.
Combine juice and 1 cup beans in a small bowl; mash with a fork until pastelike. Add juice mixture and remaining beans to pan; stir well to combine. Add lamb mixture; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
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Definitely a weekend type dish. Four lamb shanks at New Seasons (best quality) was $50. So for my family, this is not a regular rotation meal. All the same, it is very good even with the time it takes. My only criticism flavor-wise was that it could've used a bit more sodium. The lemon is a nice touch here. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes for a very filling meal.
This is a fabulous dish! We couldn't stop raving about it. I did wind up cooking it gently for about three hours (started it the night before and finished it in the morning before work), so I had to add a bit more wine and broth. Also added some chopped fresh parsley to the finished dish and a crumbled slice of crisp-cooked bacon divided among three plates. Served with steamed kale (cooked with a bit of garlic), a slice of good sourdough bread, and the same white wine that went into the dish.
Delicious dish. Flavors blend perfectly and lamb falls off the bone, creating a hearty, satisfying meal. Thickening with beans instead of flour is a new method for me, aarand it works beautifully. Definitely a keeper and worthy of a special occasion. I served it with multigrain bread to soak up the sauce. Allow 3 hours from start to finish.
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