by Kathleen Blake | March 16, 2018

Chef Blake’s Lamb Shank Recipe from the Rusty Spoon


Photography by Libby Volgyes


Serves 4


  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, reserve stems for the lamb shanks
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup good-quality olive oil

Lamb shanks:

  • 4 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each)
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups whey or white wine (we use whey to tenderize the shank, see note)
  • 4 cups chicken or lamb stock
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Italian parsley stems, reserved from the gremolata


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (see note)

PREPARATION: Preheat oven to 325F. To braise the lamb shanks, pat meat dry. Rub with harissa. Season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown lamb shanks well in batches, transferring to a plate as browned. To the same pan, add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft. Add wine or whey; let mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 3 cups. Add the shanks to the pan.  Stir in broth and thyme. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add parsley stems. Cover pot (or transfer to covered casserole). Cook in oven 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring and turning lamb shanks occasionally. Remove cover and simmer mixture 1 hour more, or until lamb shanks are tender.

While the lamb cooks, combine the gremolata ingredients in a bowl; set aside.

For the sauce, transfer shanks to a plate. Keep warm, covered with foil. Strain braising liquid through a sieve into a saucepan, discarding solids.  Whisk in butter and pomegranate molasses. Boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly.  Strain sauce again through sieve into a serving bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve shanks with sauce and gremolata.

Recipe notes:

Whey is a liquid byproduct of the manufacture of cheese. Shop for liquid whey in health food stores, some supermarkets or via online food stores. Pomegranate molasses can be found at Middle Eastern markets, or you can make by reducing pomegranate juice mixed with sugar and lemon to syrupy consistency.


Yield: About 3 cups
  • 1 cup farro (see note)
  • 3 cups chicken stock or salted water
  • 1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 whole pomegranate, seeded
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to plump (you can use any dried fruit)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives

PREPARATION: Bring stock or salted water up to a boil and stir in farro. Keep stirring until the liquid comes back to a boil.

Turn heat to medium flame and cook until farro is just tender. Strain and reserve stock for another use or if using salted water, discard.

Dress the farro with oil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add pomegranate seeds, golden raisins and fresh herbs. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe note:

Farro is a whole grain that resembles barley in taste and texture. The shape is more elongated than barley. Look for farro in larger supermarkets, health food stores and gourmet markets. Farro is packaged in whole grain, semi-pearled, and pearled varieties. Like quinoa, farro is considered an ancient grain.

More Recipes from The Rusty Spoon:

Remodeled Cobbler

Read more about The Rusty Spoon and Chef Kathleen Blake