Braised Lamb Shanks with Citrus-Mint Gremolata
Recipe type: Dinner, Entree, Main
Cuisine: Moroccan, Winter
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
A refreshing mint and Meyer lemon gremolata provides a fresh counterpoint to the rich, spiced braised meat. This is one of the best dinners we've had so far this winter!
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Lamb Shanks (mine were on the small side, about 1 ½# total weight), excess fat and silver skin removed
  • 1 medium or ½ large Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk Celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 in. piece of Fresh Ginger, cut in 2 or 3 chunks
  • ½ tsp. Fennel Seeds, lightly crushed
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 c. Red Wine
  • 2-3 c. Chicken Broth (homemade or low-sodium)
  • ¼ c. Golden Raisins
  • For the Gremolata:
  • ¼ c. chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • ¼ c. thinly sliced Mint Leaves
  • about 1 Tbsp. minced Shallot
  • about 1 Tbsp. minced Meyer Lemon Peel (or a combination of orange and lemon)
  1. Preheat oven to 325° with a rack positioned in the lower third.
  2. Rub the lamb shanks liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the lamb to a plate. If there is more than just a thin coating of fat in the pot, pour off any excess.
  3. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and ginger to the pot, season with a pinch of salt, and sauté over medium-high heat until the vegetables soften slightly and the onions are slightly golden, 6-8 minutes. Move the vegetables to one side of the pan. Drop the tomato paste into an empty spot and allow to cook for a moment; in another empty spot, toast the crushed fennel seeds and red pepper flakes for a minute. Stir the tomato paste and spices into the vegetables, add the red wine, and bring to a boil.
  4. Return the lamb shanks to the pot, nestling them among the vegetables. Add chicken stock to almost cover the meat. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braise, turning the shanks every half hour or so, until the meat is very tender when poked with the tip of a knife, but still attached to the bone. My not-huge shanks were fork tender after about 1½ hours; if you’re working with larger shanks, it may take a bit more time.
  5. Remove the lamb shanks from the pot, transfer to a plate, and tent with foil. Pour the braising liquid through a mesh sieve to strain out the chunks of vegetables and the fennel seeds. Pour the liquid back into the pot and return to the stovetop. If there’s a lot of fat floating on the top, skim some off. Add the golden raisins and bring to a boil. Allow the raisins to plump and the liquid to reduce to a saucy consistency, about 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Combine the minced parsley, mint, shallot, and lemon peel in a small bowl and toss.
  7. Taste the reduced braising liquid. Season, if necessary, and return the lamb to the pot. Spoon the sauce and plumped raisins over the lamb.
  8. Serve the lamb shanks over couscous, polenta, or a vegetable puree to soak up the sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of the gremolata and pass the rest tableside.
Recipe by strawberryplum at