Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Beer-Braised Lamb Shanks – Springing Forward with Lamb and Beer

We’re in one of those in between times of the year, when you start to see Spring ingredients and recipes, which are always a welcomed sight, yet the weather may still be cold and dreary, which is why these beer-braised lamb shanks work so well.

Lamb is a classic springtime meat, and by using the shanks, we not only get a great seasonal meal, but an extremely comforting one at that. Of all the cuts, the shank has the most connective tissue, and as long as you cook it enough, you’ll be rewarded with tender, succulent meat that warms you from the inside out.

However, if you don’t braise it long enough, the meat will be tough, rubbery, and borderline inedible, which means you’ll have to get online, and give that recipe a terrible review for not working. Okay, just kidding. What you really want to do is not stop cooking until it’s completely tender. Above and beyond how long to braise, try to use a deep pan that’s just large enough to fit however many shanks you’re doing in a single layer. A tight-fitting lid is also highly recommended.

As far as the beer goes, I used a cheap, unremarkable lager, which came in a 24-ounce can (which explains the measuring cup), and it worked wonderfully. If you’re feeling experimental, something like an amber ale would also be great, as would a fruity sour (which would make it a lamb-bic). The only thing I’d avoid would be something that’s super hoppy, as the bitterness may overwhelm the other flavors. Regardless of what beer you decide to use, I really do hope you get this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 Portions:
2 lamb shanks (ask butcher for the smaller fore shanks)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large rib celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 large carrot, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons tomato paste
12 ounces not-too-hoppy beer
2 springs rosemary
pinch cayenne
sliced green onions, optional

25 comments:

Melissa Gardner said...

Oh my—I know what I’m making for Easter dinner! I usually make Lapin au Vin (I use your Coq au Vin recipe, but substitute rabbit for the chicken); however, I'm making Lapin au Vin for a theater cast party this week, so I wanted to make something different for Easter. Beer-braised Lamb Shanks it is :)

Doug Phelps said...

Could you use pork shank, if lamb isn't super available?

Laura said...

This looks delicious! I have had amazing lamb shank at Bouchon. Each time it was a different recipe. This looks delicious and falls off the bone like it did. They served it with polenta. I'm trying this recipe! I know I'll be pleased! Thanks for sharing!

TareX said...

Is there any non-alcoholic subsitute? Also, I hate the smell/taste of beer even after the alcohol evaporates... Thanks John!

rjlevine said...

How would you recommend adjusting proportions for the sauce/braising liquid if serving 16 people?
Thanks! I can’t wait to try this.

Donald Sassano said...

Hi Chef John - looks fabulous but I'm curious about the vegetables. After braising for hours hasn't their flavor been "washed out"? Perhaps it would be best to pass the sauce and veggies through a sieve...or am I just being fussy?

Lizzy McNazzy said...

I cannot wait to make this. I follow you on youtube religiously. I do have a general question about your recipes. When you taste for seasoning towards the end of cooking you add the usual salt and pepper but also sometimes cayenne. Is that a taste preference or should we all be adding a pinch of cayenne to certain dishes? Just asking for when I cook for a crowd and some people are not that into heat. As in my bland family members think salt and pepper is spicy enough. But seriously, what is it about cayenne that you feel adds to dishes when you taste for seasoning? Thanks!

Charging Rhino said...

My grandparents liked mutton on occasion. I don't even know if butchers have mutton anymore, the supermarkets certainly don't. For lamb you have to visit the Halal market, other than the occasional lamb-chops or rack-of-lamb for some exorbitant price.

Jim Dowell said...

Thanks again Chef for a great recipe! One question, would putting the shanks in a super hot oven (550?) to help a uniform browning? Slainte!

NoUseForAName said...

Would a crock pot work for this? If so, can you suggest a setting or time?

Giby said...

Yum! Thank you for this. And I had not thought of Pat Boone for sooooo long.

Studeman said...

Hello John, do you have any thoughts on adapting this receipe to a pressure cooker?
Thanks, and I really enjoy your videos.

Paul

Dan Murphy said...

Guinness for the beer ok?

Chris Stevens said...

This must be a good dish. You ate more of this than any other video I have every seen from you. Will go on my "must try" list.

Joseph said...

Stout or porter would pair well for braising this. And given that Saturday is St. Patrick's Day.....Guiness would be excellent.

eliot rapoport said...

Hey Chef John, quick question. Typically you say to leave adding garlic to the last minute to avoid browning, but in this one you add it with the celery, carrots and onions. Is there a reason you did it this way this time?

eliot rapoport said...

Hey chef John! I know you usually say to add your garlic just before adding liquid to avoid it getting brown. Is there a reason that you added it with the celery carrots and onions this time?

Unknown said...

I can't seem to find lamb shanks. Is there another cut of lamb I could use?

dick dack said...

I always prefer using a darker beer maybe a porter or a stout beer. Favorite is an oatmeal stout, nice light sweetness and caramel undertones.

Trevor Litz said...

Hey Chef John, great video! I wanted to do this for a larger dinner party. After the browning and deglazing, what are your thoughts on transferring to a crock pot to finish the braising?

Beth said...

We found shoulder shanks which look much less meatier - will they still work?
Do we need any modifications?

Michael Poulin said...

Chief what if I want to use a leg of lamb? Is there anything different I need to do?

Tony L said...

I just made this dish. Wow! It was amazing! I had my doubts as I was making it! I was so wrong! It was the best Lamb Shank I have ever had! Will make it again and I will make it for company! Thanks John! You Rock!

LuisaCA said...

I made these yesterday for Easter today. Since I wanted to make 8 (one for each guest) I knew I would have to do them in a roasting pan in the oven. I decided to only triple the ingredients for the sauce. So in a pan on stovetop I browned all the pieces, two at a time. I tossed the strong lamb fat then sauteed the veg in added olive oil and added the beer. Brought all up to temp on the stovetop then covered with foil and braised at 350 for 2 hours. After cooling I chilled in the fridge overnight. Next day I brought out and removed fat. Then reheated on burners then oven for another hour. Perfect ! And kudos from all guests.

Rachel Van Weiringen said...

This looks so good. am going to try this over the weekend. am curious, can I use pressure cooker? and how long should I cook it for?