Have you ever wondered what a lamb shank is, and why they don’t all look the same? Let me help you out. A ‘shank’ is actually a bone-in portion of meat that comes from either the forequarter or hindquarter of the lamb, situated just below the leg and above the joint that connects it to either the shoulder or the leg bone. There are two types of lamb shanks – lamb foreshanks and the lamb hindshanks.
Lamb foreshanks (forequarter shanks) come from the front quarter of the animal and tend to be smaller than their hind counterparts. They weigh less than 500g on average and have a sweet, dense flavour. On the other hand, the lamb hindshanks (hindquarter shanks) are cut from the back legs of the animal and tend to be larger. They have a better bone to meat ratio and can weigh from 600g to a kg, depending on the animal, and if the animal is a lamb, hogget, or mutton sheep.
Hind shanks are made strictly from the leg and typically include the tibia (leg bone). The bone marrow in the shank is absolutely delicious and adds tons of flavour to braising liquids. We used Kinmana Organic lamb shanks from our herdshare for this recipe. We allow 1 shank per person because there’s no such thing as too much lamb!
Slow Braised Kinmana Lamb Shanks with Beer
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 Kinmana Organic lamb shanks
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 500ml bottle pale or golden ale – we enjoyed Beechworth Pale Ale
- 300ml Kinmana lamb or Sommerlad chicken stock, hot
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
- Knob of unsalted butter
- Handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
- Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole (with a tight-fitting lid) over a medium heat. Add the lamb shanks and cook to brown all over for a few minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pot and fry the onion, celery, carrot and garlic over a gentle heat for 10 minutes until really soft and beginning to colour. Return the lamb shanks to the pot and pour in the ale and stock. Season well, add the herbs, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover with the lid and cook over a low heat for 2½ hours, turning halfway through, until the lamb shanks are meltingly tender.
- Remove the lamb to a warmed serving dish and keep warm under foil. Discard the bay leaves. Bring the sauce to the boil and reduce it by half until it’s nice and glossy.
- Whisk in the butter and return the lamb to the casserole to warm through, if necessary. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with creamy mash.
To cook this recipe in a slow cooker, brown the lamb shanks all over in a little oil and place in the slow cooker. Fry the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for a couple of minutes and add to the slow cooker. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the butter and parsley, season well. cover with the lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Whisk the butter into the sauce with the parsley and serve (you can reduce the sauce in a pan if you like).