Lamb Shanks, Osso Buco-Style

Joshua Wesson substitutes full-flavored lamb for the usual mild veal in his version of this classic Italian stew with tomatoes, onions and carrots. More Amazing Lamb Recipes

Lamb Shanks, Osso Buco-Style
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 8 lamb shanks (1 1/4 pounds each), fat trimmed

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 4 medium onions, coarsely chopped

  • 4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 large celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • One bottle (750 ml) dry red wine

  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • Three 3-inch-long strips of orange zest

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Add 4 of the lamb shanks, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until well browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer the shanks to a large roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining vegetable oil and shanks. Pour off the fat.

  2. Heat the olive oil in the same skillet. Add the garlic, onions, carrots and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil over moderately high heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, orange zest, oregano and 2 tablespoons of the parsley and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture over the lamb and cover with foil. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours, or until the lamb shanks are very tender.

  3. Increase the oven temperature to 350°. Transfer the lamb shanks to a large, deep baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm. Pour the sauce and vegetables into a large saucepan; discard the strips of orange zest. Simmer the sauce over moderate heat, skimming the surface occasionally, until richly flavored, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and pour it over the lamb shanks.

  4. Cover the dish of lamb shanks with foil and bake for about 10 minutes, or until they are heated through. Set a lamb shank on each plate and spoon some of the sauce over and alongside. Garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley and serve.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Spoon the cold fat from the surface and bring the lamb shanks to room temperature before reheating them in a 325° oven for about 45 minutes.

Serve With

Boiled noodles, potatoes, or rice.

Suggested Pairing

The heartiness of the slow-cooked shanks calls out for equally lusty wines that have enough flavor to stand up to the braised meat. Joshua Wesson serves a full-bodied Alsace Pinot Gris or lushly textured Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

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