Track your Pure Bred lamb

Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks with Creamy Polenta

Provided by: Thomas Keller

Serves 4

Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks


  • 3 each thyme sprigs
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 6 each parsley stems
  • 225 grams / ½ pound (about 1 each large) onion, cut into 1” pieces
  • 115 grams / 4 ounces (about 1 each) carrot, peeled, cut into 1” pieces
  • 115 grams / 4 ounces leeks, split, washed, cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 each large cloves garlic, peeled, lightly crushed
  • 1,125 milliliters / 1½ bottles Cabernet Sauvignon wine
  • 4 each lamb shanks (about 1½ pounds each)
  • Kosher salt
  • Flour
  • Canola oil
  • 900 grams / 1 quart rich lamb or veal stock
  • Water
  • Coarse finishing salt (such as sel gris)
  • 4 tablespoons chives, minced
  • Creamy Polenta (see following recipe)
  • Note: Allow yourself at least two days to prepare this recipe.

method (day 1):

  1. Tie thyme, bay leaf and parsley stems together inside of a leek leaf to form a bouquet garni.
  2. Combine bouquet garni, vegetables, garlic and wine in a sauce pot.
  3. Bring to a rapid boil and cook until aroma of alcohol disappears. This process may be accelerated by lighting vapors with a stick lighter (be careful and ensure that area is clear of flammables).
  4. Once alcohol has been cooked out, chill red wine mixture completely.
  5. Transfer mixture to a gallon-sized, resealable freezer bag.
  6. Place shanks in bag and press out as much air as possible. Do your best to ensure that shanks are fully submerged in mixture. Marinate in refrigerator overnight.

method (day 2):

  1. Remove shanks from marinade (do not discard) and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat oven to 325˚F and adjust oven rack to center.
  3. Heat a heavy 12-14” braising pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  4. While pan is heating, season shanks with kosher salt.
  5. Lightly dredge shanks in flour, shaking off any excess.
  6. Add enough canola oil to cover bottom of pan by about 3/16”.
  7. When oil begins to smoke, carefully add two shanks.
  8. Brown all sides of meat. Adjust heat to avoid blackening.
  9. Once shanks have browned, remove from pan and repeat with remaining shanks.
  10. After browning, pour oil into a heat resistant container and discard. Use a wadded paper towel to carefully wipe out any blackened flour or bits from the pan.
  11. Fold a piece of parchment paper into quarters, then fold in half to form a triangle. Lay parchment on top of the pan, so that tip of triangle falls over center of pan. Use scissors to trim the outside edge of triangle to match curvature of pan. Snip ¼” from the tip. Unfold parchment paper. You should now have a round piece of parchment with a small hole in the center. Set aside.
  12. Return pan to heat. Add reserved red wine marinade and vegetables.
  13. Bring marinade to a boil and reduce to almost a syrup (do not scorch). As red wine reduces, skim away any impurities that rise to the surface.
  14. Add stock and bring to a simmer.
  15. Carefully nestle shanks into stock.
  16. Add enough water to cover about 2/3 of shanks. Return to a simmer.
  17. Once simmering, place reserved parchment over pan.
  18. Place covered pot in oven. Cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  19. After this time has passed, remove the pot from the oven and carefully turn each shank so that top sides are now submerged. Cover again with parchment and return to oven.
  20. Continue braising for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Test the tenderness of the meat by piercing with a paring knife. Meat should offer no resistance and almost pull away from the bone. If not tender, continue to cook and check every 15 minutes until desired tenderness is achieved. This may take an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour depending upon your oven.
  21. Once shanks are tender, remove from oven and allow to cool on counter for about 30 minutes. This will help meat reabsorb braising liquid and prevent drying out.
  22. Carefully remove shanks from braising liquid and set on a plate or baking dish. Wrap dish well with foil. Keep lamb warm in an oven set to 150˚F or the lowest temperature possible.
  23. Strain braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a sauce pot.
  24. Reduce liquid over medium-high heat until you are happy with the flavor and viscosity. Reduce for flavor first, rather than viscosity.
  25. Once sauce is ready, spoon a mound of creamy polenta onto the center of serving dish. Place a shank directly on top of polenta. Nappe sauce over shank and around polenta.
  26. Sprinkle shanks with a few grains of finishing salt and garnish with minced chives.
  27. Any remaining sauce can be frozen for later use.

Creamy Polenta


  • 500 mL / 2 cups chicken stock
  • 500 mL / 2 cups whole milk
  • 12 grams / 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 each large clove garlic, peeled, minced
  • 150 grams / 1 cup polenta, fine ground
  • 30 grams / 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 90 grams / 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • 30 grams / 1 ounce parmesan cheese, finely grated on a Microplane


  1. Combine stock, milk, salt and garlic in a sauce pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Whisk in polenta and reduce heat to a bare simmer.
  3. Cook polenta until thick, about 25 minutes. Whisk frequently to prevent scorching.
  4. Whisk in mascarpone, followed by butter and then parmesan.
  5. Serve right away.

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