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If It’s Spring, It’s Time for Lamb (Part 3)

Westhampton Beach Coobook author Margaret Johnson shares her recipe for Braised Lamb Shanks.

If It’s Spring, It’s Time for Lamb (Part 3)

Tis the season for spring lamb, juicy and succulent in roasts, chops, and stews. It’s a perennial favorite as the centerpiece of a special occasion meal as well, and over the next two weeks I’ll share recipes that are sure to please. The recipes are from my newest cookbook Flavors of Ireland.

Braised Lamb Shanks

Serves 4

My friend Noel McMeel, Executive Head Chef at Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, is noted for his eclectic interpretations of traditional recipes. Here the chef braises hearty shanks in red wine and tomatoes and serves them with Champ, a traditional dish of mashed potatoes and scallions or chives.

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 (12 oz.) lamb shanks
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 4–5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Cook the lamb on all sides for 5–8 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a Dutch oven.

2. Add the carrot, onion, and celery to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the wine.

3. Transfer the cooked vegetables and pan juices to the lamb in the Dutch oven. Add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, water, salt, and pepper, then cover and simmer for about 2 hours or until the lamb is nearly tender.

4. Remove the lamb shanks from the Dutch oven and transfer to a platter. Cover and keep warm. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, pressing the vegetables through with the back of a large spoon. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

5. To serve, place a lamb shank in the center of each of 4 serving plates, spoon the sauce over, and serve with the potatoes.


Serves 8

  • 4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 in. pieces
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup minced scallions or chives
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 1. Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the half-and-half and 4 tbsp. of the butter. Heat until the butter melts.

2. Add the scallions or chives, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 2–4 minutes or until softened.

3. Stir the milk mixture into the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining 2 tbsp. butter.

For more recipies,  click here.

Editor's Note:  Margaret M. Johnson, of Westhampton Beach, is the author of seven cookbooks.

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