Braised Lamb Shanks On Soft Polenta

Lamb shanks are the perfect cut of meat to prepare by braising and this recipe is easy enough for a novice to make but perfect for entertaining. After assembling the ingredients in one pot, it is simply put in the oven for 2 to 3 hours and left to cook, which allows the host to visit with guests or to prepare the rest of the meal. Once the lamb has been slowly cooked in the sauce, the meat literally falls off of the bone it is so tender.

As well as the vegetables I have used in this recipe, you could also add mushrooms or artichokes to the dish which I have done in the past. You can use either red or white wine in this recipe although red wine will give a richer flavor while the white wine adds a lighter touch.

If using red wine, I would add beef stock while for the white wine I’d use the chicken broth. We like to serve this dish with it’s chunky sauce on top of polenta, but it would also be delicious on top of risotto, garlic mashed potatoes, or buttered noodles. I added a tasty gremolata to top he finished dish but you could exclude that step if you desire. Gremolata is simply a mixture of chopped garlic, lemon, and parsley that adds a refreshing flavor to braised Italian meats.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Braised Lamb Shanks On Soft Polenta

Braised Lamb Shanks On Soft Polenta

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Slow braising lamb shanks in this manner creates fork tender shanks.


  • 4 Meaty Lamb Shanks
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion Diced
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled And Diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
  • 1 Cup Dry Wine (Red or White)
  • 1 (14 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Chicken or Beef Stock
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Cooked Soft Polenta

Gremolata Topping:

  • 1 Large Garlic Clove, Peeled
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Season the shanks with salt and pepper.
  3. In a heavy ovenproof saucepan, heat the olive oil and brown the shanks on all sides until golden brown.
  4. Remove the shanks to a side dish and add the onions, celery, and carrots to the pan.
  5. Cook until they begin to soften, then add the garlic.
  6. Cook an additional minute or two, then add the red wine.
  7. Cook the wine until it is reduced by half.
  8. Add the tomatoes, broth, and chopped parsley.
  9. Bring to a boil, then taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Return the shanks to the pot, cover and bake for one hour.
  11. Turn the shanks over, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and cook an additional 90 minutes.
  12. For the topping, chop together the garlic, parsley and lemon zest until fine.
  13. Place a large scoop of the cooked polenta into four individual bowls.
  14. Place a lamb shank on top, and then spoon some of the sauce over the lamb.
  15. Sprinkle some of the gremolata on each bowl and serve immediately.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Love your blog, and love Umbria (we often spend a winter month in Castiglione del lago).  When you say, ‘tomato sauce’ on the shanks, do you just mean the tinned tomatoes listed in the ingredients? Thanks.

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