Braised Lamb Shanks with Creamy Polenta

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

servings: 4-6



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


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.