In this easy recipe, flavorful, tender, fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks are slowly cooked with broth and aromatics until very tender.
I adore lamb. I realize that not everyone likes this bold-tasting meat, but I find it so intensely flavorful! The shanks are especially fun to eat. They're like huge drumsticks - I feel like a cavewoman when I eat them. 😀
So I make this recipe quite often. It's truly easy, and I always try to make extra, so that I have yummy leftovers. This is one of those dishes that keep very well in the fridge and also reheats well.
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make slow-cooked lamb shanks. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Beef broth: Store-bought is fine - just check the ingredients list to make sure it looks OK.
Lamb shanks: About 3 lb. total weight.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use. A teaspoon of kosher salt weighs less than a teaspoon of regular salt.
Dried rosemary: Make sure it's fresh. A stale herb can easily ruin a dish!
How to cook lamb shanks
They should be cooked low and slow, or the meat will be tough. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Add the beef broth to your slow cooker.
2. Season the meat with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place them in your slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. You can also cook on LOW for 7 hours.
4. Strain the cooking liquid and boil them, reducing them into a rich glaze.
5. Transfer the shanks to plates, spoon the gravy on top and serve.
Should I brown them first?
Not necessarily. I've experimented with browning the shanks before putting them in the crockpot, but I have found that the extra step is not worth the trouble. The dish is excellent with or without browning.
How to make the gravy
This is a truly easy recipe. I would say that the only challenging part is making the gravy. It's important to skim the fat off the cooking liquids before attempting to reduce them. Otherwise, the oil can separate.
Cook the liquids patiently over medium heat just until thickened, then immediately turn the heat off.
You can speed up the process by mixing a teaspoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water and stirring that into the cooking liquids.
What sides go with slow-cooked lamb shanks?
More tasty slow cooker recipes
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Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks
- ½ cup beef broth
- 4 small lamb shanks, about 3 lb. total weight
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- Add the broth to your slow cooker.
- Season the lamb shanks with salt, pepper and rosemary. Place the shanks in your slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 7 hours, until lamb is very tender.
- When the lamb shanks finish cooking, set the slow cooker to WARM.
- Transfer the cooked lamb shanks to a plate. Strain the cooking liquids into a glass measuring cup, then return the lamb shanks to the slow cooker and cover, to keep them warm while you thicken the gravy.
- Use a spoon to skim the fat layer off the top of the cooking juices. Pour them into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until almost boiling but not quite, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until liquids are reduced into a rich gravy, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the lamb shanks to plates, spoon the gravy on top and serve.