Braised Lamb Shanks with Dried Cherry Sauce, Mom's Dinner Plate

Braised Lamb Shanks With Dried Cherry Sauce

We love  lamb shanks! They are almost falling off the bone scrumptious.  if you can source local lamb even better. We have found those to be smaller, so we adjust the cooking time slightly. Roasted veggies would be a nice accompaniment for the lamb but I have also made Spaetzle to serve with them. The sauce is really delicious so don’t be put off by the large amount of garlic, it totally mellows out.

Makes 4 Servings

1 Tbsp. EVOO & vegetable oil
4 lamb shanks (about 1 lb. each) = 4 lbs. lamb shanks
2 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
14 garlic cloves, peeled (yes, it is 14)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 cups beef stock (see below) or tinned low salt/no salt broth
3 cups chicken stock (see below)  or tinned low salt/no salt broth
1 cup dry white wine
8 large fresh thyme sprigs or 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
6 fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley sprigs
6 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Finish the Sauce:

1 cup cranberry juice (sugarless would be just fine)
½ cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Heat half the oil in a large, heavy, Dutch oven, with an oven proof lid, over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper; brown the lamb in the Dutch oven until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Heat the remaining oil in the pan; add the carrots, onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes; add tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add both stocks, wine, thyme, parsley, peppercorns and bay leaves; bring to a simmer; cover with lid place in the oven; cook until lamb is very tender, about 2 hours, turning lamb over after 1 hour.

Using a slotted spoon; transfer the lamb to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Strain cooking liquid through a sieve into a large heavy saucepan; removing the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Puree 1 cup of the veggies strained from the cooking liquid, in a food processor or a food mill. Add puree to the cooking liquid; discard the remaining solids; add the cranberry juice and cherries to the cooking liquid; boil until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes or so; season to taste with salt and pepper; return the lamb shanks to the pot; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.

NB: The lamb can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and place in the fridge. Before serving, reheat over medium-low heat, stirring often.

If you would like to make homemade stock, click Making Stock.




  1. Would this work with short ribs (question mark) (I hit some button while typing the question mark wont work, or the apostrophe apparently!!!)

    • Hmmm…not sure but you could try it. I would be more tempted to use pork shoulder with a bone in it. You could try unsmoked pork hocks, once cooked until very tender, you can remove the skin. What, you don’t like lamb? I know Heather loves lamb shanks. If you use local lamb there is none of that lambyness! The imported stuff from Australia and N.Z. do have more of that taste. Good luck!

  2. Not a huge fan of lamb, but will eat it if necessary. Unlike fish. Pork hocks are for Chinese soup. You know I creep out easily with food.

    • I would suggest you move on! All those meats are delicious and you need to rethink. Fresh pork hocks are not only for soup. All those Italians would be surprised to hear you say that! They are like the Chinese, they eat the whole beast and we should all try to emulate that…it’s the right way of honouring the beast that was killed!

  3. Phyllis …. this appears to be Vince & Eddie’s recipe that appeared in Bon Appetit. The original (which Bon Appetit faxed to me when I lost my copy) says to braise the shanks in the oven at 350 while you say 325. Did you try it at both and find that 325 worked better?

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for dropping by!

      I always braise at either 300 or 325F…I find 350 just too hot. I actually don’t remember where the recipe originated, I have a huge file of cuttings, so not sure…but we tried it…played around a bit and thought it was excellent. I think a slower braise allows the meat to become more succulent and tender.

      Cheers, P

  4. Phyllis could I replace the lamb shanks with veal?

    • Thanks for dropping by my site! Nice to hear from you! I suppose you could but I would make sure to use a very rich veal stock to bump up the flavour….lamb has a more intense flavour than veal which is quite delicate in taste…I would give it a try!

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