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Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomato and Fennel

Braising lamb shanks makes them meltingly tender. Serve with Polenta for a hearty meal.

  • Servings: 4

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2002


  • 4 1 1/2-pound lamb shanks, trimmed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 large leek, white and light-green parts only, washed well, sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock
  • 1 twenty-eight-ounce can peeled whole plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, sliced 1/4 inch thick


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season lamb all over with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge lamb in flour, turning to coat evenly; shake off excess. Heat oil and butter in an 8-quart Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Working in two batches, cook until shanks are well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer shanks to a large plate; drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet.

  2. Place skillet over medium heat; add onions and leek, and saute until they are lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; cook 4 minutes more. Add red wine; deglaze pan by scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Return shanks to skillet, and add chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; cover, and place in oven. Braise 2 hours; add fennel, and cook 30 minutes.

  3. Using a slotted spatula, transfer shanks and vegetables to a large bowl. Cover; set aside. Using a ladle, skim fat from surface of cooking liquid; cook over medium heat until liquid is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Return shanks and vegetables to pan; cook until heated through. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.


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