Braised Lamb Shanks with Creamy Polenta

Bringing in lots of cozy autumn flavor today with these braised lamb shanks! American lamb shanks seared and cooked slowly in a flavorful braising liquid with lots of tomatoes, woodsy herbs, and red wine until melt-in-your-mouth tender. Serving them over creamy polenta that’s full of gouda cheese and a touch of honey. It’s a hearty, comforting, completely satisfying recipe that you’ll want to be making all fall and winter long!

This post is sponsored by the American Lamb Board.

Braised Lamb Shanks

Braised Lamb Shanks

Everyone seems to be embracing the coming fall season a little extra this year…and I couldn’t be more on the same page. Staying in and cooking up the coziest meal sounds like just the thing to do right now. Nights are becoming chilly, and the feeling of autumn is definitely in the air.

And what meal could be better to welcome in the season than these slowly cooked braised lamb shanks?! After a few hours braising away on the stovetop, your entire house will smell like fall comfort food.

creamy polenta

creamy polenta

braised lamb shanks – the details

The process is basically the same as making braised short ribs, but we’re using American lamb shanks for something a little different. If you’ve been following along for a while, you know I love cooking with local lamb. The lamb tastes really pure and fresh when sourced locally, with beautiful rich flavor that’s subtle versus overpowering. I like to call my local butcher a few days beforehand to make sure they have lamb shanks in stock when I want to pick them up.

Once you’ve got your lamb, you’ll start by searing it off in a big Dutch oven until golden brown. From there, lots of flavor gets layered into the pot – think garlic, fennel seeds, fresh end of season tomatoes, red wine, oregano, and rosemary.

This intensely flavored mixture becomes the braising liquid for the lamb shanks. You’ll gently simmer it all together on the stove for just about two and a half hours, until the meat is fork tender & falling effortlessly off the bone.

Braised Lamb Shanks

And what could be better than creamy polenta to soak up all that cozy tomato sauce? In just about 5 minutes, the polenta is cooked and ready for lots of shredded gouda cheese to be stirred in, plus a little honey, butter, and black pepper.

Trust me, this recipe is a GOOD one. I’d say save it for a lazy Friday night at home, light some fall candles, maybe bake up an apple dessert, and get cooking. I hope you enjoy!!

Looking for another cold-weather lamb recipe? Try this lamb bolognese with herbs & parmesan!

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Creamy Polenta

Braised Lamb Shanks

slowly braised lamb shanks with fresh tomatoes, red wine, and herbs, served over creamy polenta with gouda cheese & honey

servings: 4-6

Ingredients

Scale

Braised Lamb Shanks

  • 4 ½ lbs American lamb shanks
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled + diced
  • 1 lb roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 4 sprigs oregano
  • 2 sprigs rosemary

Creamy Polenta

  • 3 cups water
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • ½ lb gouda cheese, shredded
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

Braised Lamb Shanks

  1. Season the lamb shanks with a generous pinch of salt on all sides. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Once hot, work in batches to sear the lamb shanks, about 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer the lamb to a plate.
  2. Add the shallot and onion to the pot. Saute for about 6 minutes until beginning to caramelize, stirring often. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, and a pinch of salt. Stir well and cook for another minute or so. Add the carrots. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the red wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the beef broth, oregano, and rosemary.
  4. Add the lamb shanks to the liquid. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Remove the lid and continue to gently simmer for another hour, or until the lamb is fork tender and the sauce has reduced.
  5. Spoon the creamy polenta (recipe below) into a shallow bowl. Place the lamb shanks onto the polenta. Spoon a generous amount of the tomato sauce over top.

Creamy Polenta

  1. Add the water and a good pinch of salt to a small Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Pour in the polenta and reduce the heat to low. Cook the polenta for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
  2. Stir in the gouda cheese until melted. Add the butter, honey, and a few cracks of black pepper. Stir well until the butter has melted. Serve immediately.

Braised Lamb Shanks

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