Published January 1, 1995.
For shanks that are fall-off-the-bone tender and deeply flavorful, oven-braise in a mixture of wine and stock.
Lamb shanks are cheap and flavorful cuts of meat, but they're chockfull of connective tissue (collagen), which makes them very tough unless properly cooked.
Meltingly tender lamb shanks.
The only practical cooking method that will turn the lamb shank tender is braising, which means cooking the meat partially covered in liquid, usually in a closed vessel. Braising keeps the temperature of the meat relatively low--around the boiling point of water--for a long period of time, which is exactly what is needed to convert the tough collagen to tender gelatin. We found that we prefer to braise in the oven rather than on the stovetop, as the oven provides more even heat. Be sure to trim any excess fat that may be left on the exterior of the meat. Brown the shanks over high heat in a skillet first; this step adds a great deal of flavor to the dish. Braise the shanks in chicken stock (which will complement, rather than overpower, the lamb, as beef or veal stock might), red wine, and herbs. Cook covered for 1 1/2 hours, then uncover for a final 30 minutes to brown the top of the shanks. Skim excess fat from braising liquid and serve with shanks.list of recipes