Hard Cider-Braised Lamb Shanks

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Serve these succulent braised lamb shanks dressed in a savory apple-shallot sauce for a special fall supper. The shank, a tougher cut of meat from the top of the leg, becomes fall-off-the-bone tender after simmering in hard cider. Don’t skimp on the shallots: peeling 12 of them takes some time, but they are the base for the rich sauce. Serve over mashed rutabaga or potatoes.

Hard Cider-Braised Lamb Shanks
photographer: Ken Burris
Nutritionist Tested & Approved

Time: 165 minutes (60 minutes prep)

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper , plus more to taste

  • 4 12-ounce lamb shanks (about 3 pounds; see Note) , trimmed

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12 whole shallots, peeled , root end trimmed but left intact

  • 4 cloves garlic , peeled

  • 3 12-ounce bottles hard apple cider (see Shopping Tip)

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped , divided

  • 3 firm tart apples, such as Granny Smith, Idared or Cortland , peeled and cut into 8 wedges

  1. Rub salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper onto lamb shanks. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge the lamb in the flour to lightly coat on all sides. Tap off any excess flour.

  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Add shallots and garlic to the pan; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in hard cider (it may splatter); bring to a boil. Add rosemary sprig.

  4. Return the lamb and any accumulated juices to the pan. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and simmer, checking every 45 minutes to make sure the meat side of the shank is mostly submerged in the cooking liquid, until the lamb is fork- tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours total.

  5. Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

  6. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in apples and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender (but not falling apart), 10 to 15 minutes more. Return the lamb to the pan, turn to coat with sauce and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig. Serve the lamb with the sauce.

Ingredient Note: Lamb shanks are a less common cut, but worth seeking out. If they aren’t carried at your supermarket, ask your butcher to order them for you. Some cooks recommend removing the thin white membrane (the “silver skin”) before cooking, but we liked the results of either trimmed or untrimmed membranes.

Shopping tip: Hard cider is usually available in 6-packs where beer and wine are sold.

Nutritional Facts

41 g
13 g
Saturated Fat
3 g
31 g
94 mg
Dietary Fiber
2 g
525 mg
284 mg
4 servings
1 starch
1 vegetable
1 1/2 fruit
3 lean meat
1 1/2 fat
Folate and Iron
20% daily value
Potassium and Vitamin C
15% dv

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