Balsamic Braised Lamb Shanks




Lamb Shanks!

There is another article on the site for them in the form of Chianti Braised Lamb Shanks, but that one pales in comparison to today’s recipe. This is my favorite recipe on this site.

I got hooked on lamb shanks at The Stinking Rose back in 2005 and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. Whether its in the form of a Mexican Birria, Braised in wine, or in a thick, hearty sauce like today’s recipe, the amount of connective tissue, marrow and downright flavor to this cut of meat is unparalleled. Well, maybe a king crab leg would be comparable, but that’s a whole different animal all together! No pun intended :).

The balsamic vinegar gives a beautiful color and richness to the sauce and creates an end product that reminded Producer Jesse of a gourmet ketchup! It’s funny we thought of that because I now see Heinz has a ketchup made with balsamic vinegar. Anyhow, don’t get too hung up on the ketchup thing, just do yourself a flavor favor and cook these shanks! Set yourself up for this weekend or next week and, even if it’s the only thing you do, make it happen. You won’t be disappointed.

I have my in-laws in town for the weekend. Paleo Harley is bowling in the National Bowling Tournament in Reno and we are going to cheer for him until we are hoarse! Speaking of that, I pitched for Samson’s baseball game last night. After the previous game, Coach Scott gave away a Dairy Queen coupon for the person with the best team spirit. So, last night, Samson proceeded to yell non-stop from the dugout, “Go, Sophie, Go!” or “Go, Slade, Go!” depending on who was up to bat. He yelled as loud as he could for as long as that person was up to bat, then he changed the name for the next batter and continued! I was impressed for the first inning, but it got a little overwhelming in innings 2 and 3..

I suppose I should mention that he was the only one cheering on his teammates. Bless his heart. It eventually got to the point where I couldn’t wait for him to be up to bat so that the cheerful cheering would cease. After their last at bat, I told him he was doing a good job cheering. As we took the field for the final time, he said, “Dad. I really want to win that Dairy Queen coupon.” I couldn’t believe it. He was so motivated by an ice cream cone that he nearly lost his voice. It was cool to think that he was naturally enthusiastic about his teammates, but that lost a little edge when I learned of his motives.

Nonetheless, he cheered and, in the end, he won the coupon! I think Coach Scott is going to rethink the situation and, at the very least, he’ll situate Samson right in the middle of the lineup so that we’ll get some segmented screaming… Either way, I am proud of Samson and love the kid to death! He went 3/3 and made some nice plays at short stop. Grandma and Grandpa got to watch him play and I was nominated for NorCal Player of the week allowing 11/12 batters to get on base all three innings!

Thanks for reading my story and thank you for joining me in the journey to…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(Samson on Third Base. NorCal pitcher of the week on the right…)

Balsamic Braised Lamb Shanks


  • 8 lamb shanks
  • 3 large onions, large dice
  • 12-15 carrots, rinsed, skin left on, cut in half, large dice
  • 1 bunch of celery, each stalk cut down the middle, large dice
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups tomato puree
  • 1 orange
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, rough chop
  • Water
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Olive oil

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Heat a large stock pot over medium-heat, add olive oil. Season all sides of 4 lamb shanks with kosher salt and place in the pot, and sear all sides. Remove and place in a large hotel pan. Repeat this step with the next 4 lamb shanks.
  3. Using the same stock pot, add carrots, celery, and onions, stirring to deglaze the pan. Then add in balsamic vinegar, diced tomatoes and tomato puree and mix well. Pour this mixture over the lamb shanks and spread evenly.
  4. Cut the orange in half and juice over vegetables and lamb shanks, then toss the juiced orange in with the meat and vegetables.
  5. Add just enough chicken stock or water to baking dish to nearly cover the shanks with liquid.
  6. Cover with a double layer of foil and place in oven. Bake for 4 hours, turning shanks half way through. After 4 hours, remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Plate family style on a large platter, garnish with Italian parsley and serve immediately or portion out and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

“Keep It Paleo!”

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