Serve these succulent braised lamb shanks dressed in a savory apple-shallot sauce for a special fall supper. The shank, a tougher cut of meat from the top of the leg, becomes fall-off-the-bone tender after simmering in hard cider. Don't skimp on the shallots: peeling 12 of them takes some time, but they are the base for the rich sauce. Serve over mashed rutabaga or potatoes.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2009


Recipe Summary

2 hrs 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Rub salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper onto lamb shanks. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge the lamb in the flour to lightly coat on all sides. Tap off any excess flour.

  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

  • Add shallots and garlic to the pan; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in hard cider (it may splatter); bring to a boil. Add rosemary sprig.

  • Return the lamb and any accumulated juices to the pan. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and simmer, checking every 45 minutes to make sure the meat side of the shank is mostly submerged in the cooking liquid, until the lamb is fork- tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours total.

  • Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

  • Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in apples and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender (but not falling apart), 10 to 15 minutes more. Return the lamb to the pan, turn to coat with sauce and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig. Serve the lamb with the sauce.


Ingredient Note: Lamb shanks are a less common cut, but worth seeking out. If they aren't carried at your supermarket, ask your butcher to order them for you. Some cooks recommend removing the thin white membrane (the “silver skin”) before cooking, but we liked the results of either trimmed or untrimmed membranes.

Shopping tip: Hard cider is usually available in 6-packs where beer and wine are sold.

Nutrition Facts

494 calories; protein 31.5g; carbohydrates 44.4g; dietary fiber 2.5g; sugars 19.1g; fat 12.9g; saturated fat 3g; cholesterol 94.3mg; vitamin a iu 645.6IU; vitamin c 9.8mg; folate 79.9mcg; calcium 52mg; iron 3.5mg; magnesium 41mg; potassium 551mg; sodium 284mg; thiamin 0.2mg.

Reviews (2)

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5 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
Fabulous kept nibbling at it as it was cooking! I made this recipe exactly as written and the smell was amazing causing me to nibble a bit as it cooked. The sauce is the most amazing melding of flavors. I served it over mashed rutabagas and the contrast of sweet and bitter was quite good. Pros: tender meat fabulous sauce Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I've made this several times since it was published. I puree the sauce at the end to make a nice thick sauce with the apples and shallots. It gets around the rosemary leaves floating around. When you look at the picture it looks like that's what they did and that's why i did it that way. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Really tasty Tried these and they were the lamb version of short ribs - fall off the bone tender. I removed the silver skin. Put the flour salt and pepper with the shanks in a plastic bag and shook to cover. Hornsby's hard crisp cider was just perfect for these. 8 shallots were enough for me but everything else was as written and the result was delicious. Pros: Easy to make Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I used unpasteurized apple cider which probably ended up making the recipe too sweet (and I usually liek sweet with meat). I thought about adding a knob of peeled fresh ginger to spice it up but I chose to go with the recipe as written (other than using slightly fermented apple cider). Agree with previous reviewer - the stem of rosemary definitely needs to go into a bouquet garni bag - otherwise it falls apart and the needles remain in the sauce. Won't be making this again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
The sauce that this makes is incredible. I used an apple Hard Cider that I found at the grocery store. Next time I would either put the rosemary in a bouquet garni or just mince it before throwing it in. Read More