Lamb Shanks


Serves four


  • Four meaty lamb shanks, cut


  • 2 or 3 carrots, large chop
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chunked
  • 3 ribs celery, large chop
  • 2 leeks, white part only, halved
  • 3 roma tomatoes and five dried tomatoes (opt)
  • Fresh thyme (2 T, or 1 T dried)
  • Bay leaf
  • 5 cups chicken stock, or part mushroom stock plus a cup of white wine.


  1. Lightly flour shanks and brown on top of the stove in hot olive oil and butter, about four T total. Brown shanks on both sides for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. You need an ovenproof Dutch oven for this, with a lid.
  2. Add more olive oil if needed. Add celery, shallots, carrots, onion, celery and leeks. Brown in oil until softened. Stir frequently. When almost soft, add garlic, bay leaf and tomatoes, chopped and diced if using dried in addition to fresh romas. Stew several minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Add shanks back to vegetables and cover 2/3 with the stock. Add the cup of white wine to the broth, and return to a simmer. The shanks should be almost covered with broth. Place the lid on the pan and place in a 350 degree oven. Turn shanks in about 15 minutes. Continue to roast, covered for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  4. Remove shanks and cover with foil, lightly.
  5. Strain sauce, pressing out all solids possible through mesh strainer. Discard remaining solids. Reduce sauce by half. Remove fat (can let this sit for several hours in the refrigerator to harden fat and remove, skim with a spoon and final removal using several thicknesses of paper towels layed on top of the cooling broth, or use a separator). Set broth aside until ready to serve. Note: This can be done early in the day, and finished when ready to complete the meal. Put the sauce back on low while making the risotto, so that it continues to intensify in flavor, and thicken. This slightly thickened sauce will be drizzled over shanks and risotto at the table. Add salt and pepper to taste, and a swirl of butter to finish the sauce.


  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups pearl barley
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken broth, plus 1/4 cup white wine. (This is new stock, not the reserved stock from cooking shanks.)
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Sauté vegetables in 2 T butter and 1 T olive oil. When fragrant, add washed and drained barley to oil, and stir to coat grains. Reduce heat to medium—low, so as you add broth, you are at a steady simmer.
  2. Bring chicken broth and wine to a gentle simmer in a separate pan. You will need 3 to 4 cups of broth. Add additional chicken stock as needed.
  3. Begin adding broth, 1 cup at a time to the barley/vegetable mix, allowing it to thicken to a soupy texture before each added addition of broth, but careful not to let bottom of pan burn. Stand by with good sturdy spoon, and stir often.
  4. It will take about 30 to 40 minutes to complete the Risotto, adding simmering broth until it is absorbed, and is a nice, creamy texture and barley is al dente. When Risotto is done, add parsley and Parmesan, cover, and keep warm.

Place a warm shank on each plate, with a helping of risotto, and offer warmed reserved lamb sauce at the table.