An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

”Facebook ”Twitter ”LinkedIn ”RSS” ”Pinterest” ”Google+”

Braised Lamb Shanks for Passover or Easter Week

By on Apr 16, 2014, 6:41 pm in Holiday Entertaining, Recipes-Savory, Special Events | 2 comments

Braised Lamb Shanks

Why was last night different from all other nights?

I catered my last event in Los Angeles last night – a Passover seder for the client who was my first, 17 years ago. The Passover menu, over the years, has often included a slow braised brisket, sometimes salmon, and almost always, a roast leg of lamb. This year we broke with tradition a bit, and served these Braised Lamb Shanks.

The shanks looked a bit unwieldy on the plates. I think the 10 year or so old boys who I noticed grabbing them rather liked that- a kind of he-man/brontasaurus steak effect. But believe me, everyone quite enjoyed them.

The recipe is one I clipped from the pages of the New York Times many years ago, and carried with me through the years. Unfortunately, I don’t make them very often, so when I do, it’s a special occasion.  And accordingly, I saved a few of the shanks to braise for my Easter dinner, too.

Passover, Easter- whatever your special occasion, you’ll want to give these a try.  They are great served with a White Bean Puree, or with Roasted Cauliflower Puree.

Next year in New Orleans…

Braised Lamb Shanks

  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 medium onion, large dice
  • 4 ribs celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots , peeled and sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 anchovy filets*, rinsed and minced
  • 1 1/4 cups veal or beef stock
  • 1 35 ounce can Italian style crushed tomatoes, strained
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper


  1. Season shanks with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Brown shanks well, a few at a time, on all sides. Transfer the shanks to a large roasting pan. Repeat until all the shanks are brown, adding more oil, as needed.
  2. Put the garlic, onion, celery and carrots in the pan. Cook 30 – 45 seconds. Add half the wine and deglaze the pan. Add the vegetable wine mixture to the roasting pan, then add the remaining ingredients.  Put the roasting pan on a burner and bring it to a simmer. Add water to almost cover the shanks, if needed. Cover with aluminum foil. Put the pan in the oven and bake until the meat is tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove shanks from the liquid. Strain the liquid into a large saucepan (okay, I like to leave a bit of the tomato and carrots for presentation. Simmer to reduce the sauce until is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6 servings

* Don’t fear the anchovies. They add a depth of flavor to a braise as they melt into the sauce. And rinsing them first which I always do) takes away that salty greasiness that most people find so objectionable.


  1. We met when you catered a charity event at my house. I’m sure this final LA event was just as terrific (I almost said “amazing”). XOGREG

    Avatar sippitysup

    April 25, 2014

  2. LOL, Greg- please feel free to say amazing if you like. Awesome… well, I might roll my eyes 😉

    Avatar Gisele aka LA2LAChef

    April 25, 2014

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *