The next time you are at your supermarket or butcher, look past the expensive cuts of meat and consider investing more time than money in your next dinner. Cuts like the lamb shank are less costly than racks or chops, but they can provide great flavor. Let’s explore how to get the most out of this economical but delicious meat.

What cut is the lamb shank?

The lamb shank is the lower half or shin of the lamb leg. The cut can be from the front or rear of the animal, but the foreshank is smaller and a little more tender.

When shopping for lamb shank, look for one with a centre bone and some silver skin or white membrane covering the meat. This covering will melt in the cooking process. Purchase one shank per diner.

What is the best way to cook a lamb shank?

A lamb shank has a lot of connective tissue, and it can be tough if not cooked correctly. However, when cooked low and slow, the connective tissues melt into flavorful juices. Braise your shank in the oven or a slow cooker.

Some recipes call for marinating a lamb shank, but that is not necessary if you braise in a tasty liquid. One popular approach calls for a combination of red wine, spices, onions, and carrots. For a more exotic dish, add dried fruit and warm spices such as cinnamon, cumin or coriander.

Before braising, bring the lamb shanks to room temperature and trim off any excess fat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and dredge in a small amount of flour. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and brown the shanks on all sides.

When braising in a slow cooker, deglaze the skillet used for browning with wine or stock. Place the shanks in your slow cooker and cover with the braising liquid, vegetables and the deglazed juices from the skillet. The braise should just cover the lamb. Cook on high for 6 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Serve lamb shanks with roasted vegetables and some of the reduced braising juices. Don’t forget crusty bread to soak up all of that yummy flavor.

Nutritional value of a Lamb Shank

Lamb, like all meat, is an excellent source of protein. Three ounces of lamb shank contain 184 calories and 22.7 grams of protein. The meat is also very high in zinc, lysine, B vitamins, and Omega 3.

Tomato and Rosemary Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks

1 or 2 Lamb Shanks
1 Onion
1 Carrot
1 Beef or Lamb Stock Pot
1 Tablespoon Tomato Puree
1 Teaspoon Garlic Puree
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 Tablespoon Rosemary

Slow Cooker Lamb Shank Curry

2 Medium Sized Lamb Shanks
2 Onions
1 Handful of Coriander
1 Tablespoon of Tomato Puree
2 Red Chilli
1 Tablespoon of Cardomom Seeds
2 Bell Peppers

The Meat Fell off the Bone of these Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks

2 Lamb Shanks
2 Onions
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Worcester Sauce
1 Tablespoon Tomato Puree
1 Teaspoon Garlic Puree
1 Chicken Stock Pot
200ml Red Wine

Aromatic Tandoori Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks

2 Lamb Shanks
2 Onions
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 Chilli (Red or Green)
1 Beef Stock Pot
1 Tablespoon of Rosemary
2 Tablespoon of Tandoori Curry Powder
1 Tablespoon of Paprika
1 Tablespoon of Cumin
1 Lemon
1 Teaspoon of Ginger Puree
1 Teaspoon of Garlic Puree
1 Tablespoon of Tomato Puree
300g Natural Yoghurt