Meat Reheat Part 1 – Lower and Slower Lamb Shanks

Lamb ShanksOne of the excellent things about writing this blog is that I can do what I like, unbound by convention. One standard would state that posting the same stuff twice is a no-no. To hell with that. If anyone can extract a second serving from one dish, I’m your man. One of my earliest posts was lamb shanks under the banner of How slow can you go? I now realise that I can go slower and lower, a lot slower and plenty lower. Hence, part one in my Meat Reheat series.

Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shanks
There’s enough in one per person but ‘one for the pot’ never goes to waste.

For Lower and Slower Lamb Shanks, you are going to need:

  • 5 lamb shanks (4 people and one to fight over)
  • 1 bulb of excellent garlic
  • 1 big sprig of rosemary
  • 2 onions
  • A bottle of red wine
  • Seasoned flour for dusting
  • Parsnips and potatoes to serve

You are also going to need to get up early. This is a six-hour roasting extravaganza.

Here’s what you need to do

Turn the oven on to 110 degrees C. Heat a frying pan (skillet) on the hob. Dust the shanks in the seasoned flour and brown them on as many sides as their shape will allow.

Lamb Shanks in the pan

Impossible to brown them on every size unless you use a blowtorch or deep fry them. Don’t ask me to do either.

Sit them on the onion and rosemary in a roasting dish. Add plenty of garlic. You can decide on quantity. I am fed up listening to people telling me I use too much garlic. I don’t. When one slow roasts, the garlic transforms into a beautiful sweet paste inside the cloves.

Lamb Shanks

This is the first of a few gratuitous meat shot. Note the garlic, onions and rosemary. The support actors in the gravy show.

Season the shanks and add three-quarters of a bottle of the wine. If it is not too early in the day for you, pour a glass and enjoy it. Cover the shanks with foil and put them in the oven.

Lamb Shanks

This is the second gratuitous shot. Note the wine. The Cary Grant or Wayne Sleep in the gravy show.

Go somewhere else and do something worthwhile for a couple of hours. (I cycled down to Wicklow and back.)  Return and turn the shanks. Go away again. Repeat this process (Not the cycle unless you are very fit, I was exhausted.).

Lamb Shanks

4 hours in and time to pour off most of the cooking juices. I was pretty hungry at this stage of things.

Don’t forget to prepare your other ingredients. You have plenty of time to do them. No excuses please.


A visual interlude for the vegetarians. The earthy taste of parsnips works really well. I roasted mine for half an hour with a little oil and black pepper.

After five and a half hours, take the shanks out. Pour off most of the cooking liquid into a separator.

Lamb and wine gravy

The gravy needs to be reduced in a saucepan by about two-thirds. Then add a bit of butter to glaze the gravy. It ends up a purple-black colour and incredibly rich.

When you have removed the fat, add this to a pot and reduce it, adding a knob of butter to give it a nice glaze. This will be one of the best gravies you will ever taste. Return the shanks to the oven, uncovered, and turn the heat up to 180 C.

Lamb Shanks

Diner pressure was resisted. I took the full 6 hours. Worth the wait.

Turn the shanks a couple of times during this part of the process. They should be sticky and will smell delicious. Be careful to prevent them drying out. Add back a bit of the gravy if you really need to.

Lamb Shanks

That gravy was the excellent. Worth the time stirring it on the hob. Do you like my styling with the sprig of rosemary?

Get the timing of the other ingredients right and serve the shanks with mashed potatoes, wine gravy and seasonal vegetables.

Lamb Shanks

“Et viola” as they say in musical circles. Note the roasted garlic cloves hiding at the back of the plate. Perfect squashed and mixed with the mash.

The first of my reheats was a big success. The flavours worked wonderfully well. It was worth going the entire six hours. I make that pretty low and pretty slow.

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Latest comments
  • You can do just what you like its your blog and I spend many hours wandering through my old posts – I call it food porn. I remember this one but i dont remember that bizarre jug – If i didn’t know better I’d say it was taking the piss. Anyway I’m at work trying to figure out why my numbers don’t stack up (there’s an obvious answer and no I don’t need it) so I’m off…

    • The separater is the business. Gets rid of most of the fat and leaves all the tastiness. The numbers have to stand up. Add in a Miscellaneous Reserve to take care of any unexpected balances.

      • My wife employes the ‘smoothin accrual’. Its her favourite accoutancy tool

  • Those look like they were well worth the time. Of course you can do anything you want with your blog! Hello! Nice red jug. I want one 🙂

    • We got that as a wedding present. 24 years service. I don’t know where you might get one.

  • I am captivated by the rosemary. Did you reuse it too?

  • I love Lamb, and cooking lamb shanks is fantastic as everyone gets a decent portion! ( I am all about ensuring my dinner is substantial) lovely post.

  • I almost bought lamb shanks yesterday…now I wish I had. Lower and slower definitely seems the way to go. I love how a whole head of garlic turns into a lovely paste for mixing with the meat, veg or just smeared on a piece of bread with the meal.

    • Garlic is such a wonder. Harsh and astringent when raw, delicious and sweet when roasted.

  • This looks great for a dinner party! I have a tiny crockpot (1.5 quart) that will hold one lamb shank if I have the butcher cut in in 2. Perfect since I live alone. I start in in the morning and when I arrive home from work I’m surprised by the wonderful smell that greets me. At that point I’ve usually forgotten that I started it cooking…

    • Hi Flori, Look out for the next reheat post. You are mentioned.

  • Great technique – i bet they were delicious!

    • Thanks MD. They were. The gravy was the star for sure.

      • You’ve got me there – I spent a lot of time making gravy 🙂

  • One of my all time favorites! Thank you for sharing your recipe! I have a great recipe too, but I will have to try this one. It looks too damn good. I am really enjoying your blog tremendously!

    • Thanks Stephané, kind words indeed. I have just been over to yours and I like what I see.

  • Beautiful photos and thank you especially for the lovely parsnip shot for us veggie-lovers 🙂 Looks like a wonderful dish!

    • Thank you. The pics are better than my originals, thank goodness. It was worth the reheat, for sure.

  • You are absolutely right to reheat, especially if it’s such a great dish! The finished plate and the gravy look great. I bet it was delicious! Braising in the oven is great as it doesn’t require as much attention. Lamb shanks are cheap and packed with flavor. I do them even lower and slower, sous-vide of course. 48 hours at 62C if memory serves me right. I’ll have to do a post.

    • I love it. 48 hours! I’ll have to invest in a water bath. Post it soon.

      • I probably won’t have time to do the lamb shank for the next few weeks, as I already have some other projects coming up. Including having my boss + his boss + the remaining two colleagues from our management team + everyone’s wives/husbands coming over for an Italian dinner at my house 🙂

      • P.S. Definitely ask Santa for a water bath 🙂

  • Your photos always make me hungry!

    • Thanks Lindsay. I have been learning a lot about my camera and Lightroom over the past few months. I hope the pics are getting better. I am having great fun doing it.

  • To hell with convention. You do what you like, and keep treating us to great recipes like these.

  • Super gorgeous supper! Do cook more lamb, because you do a good job with it every time and it’s always a treat for us.
    I love that little red gravy dish. Your pictures are looking better and better every day!

    • Thanks indeed. The gravy dish is older than either of my children (a wedding present over 20 years ago). There will be more lamb as we go, I promise.

  • Super deliciousness wafting out of the photos. Taking deep breaths. Now if only I could have had that spare lamb shank …

    • Sorry Sanjiv, it didn’t make it to the end of the meal…

  • These look fantastic.. Thanksgiving is long gone here in Canada, so this will be a lovely dish to make this weekend! Bring on the lamb!

    • Hi Barbara, my youngest is in St. John’s studying at present. She reports the arrival of winter there with snow in the past week. This is certainly a winter warmer.

      • Both of my kids opted to stay at home for school.. I’m thinking they wish they had done otherwise at times. What an adventure that would be for your daughter!

  • I am delighted that you stopped by my website so that I could come and check out all of your wonderful recipes. I love how simple this recipe is with really good ingredients and lamb shanks that are fall off the bone tender. Looking forward to keeping in touch. Take Care, BAM

    • Thanks BAM, I look forward to hearing more about HK life through your blog. My youngest brother spent a few years there (a long time ago) and there seems to be a lot of political intrigue there too at present. I look forward to your tasty posts.

  • OMG, this blog is already one of my favourites!!!

    • Thanks Mr. Bene, glad you like it.

  • Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are in the midst of a great Thanksgiving weekend!

  • Fantastic post! I revisit recipes all the time. After all, how else can you make them better?

    • Thanks Natalia. I am working on a series…

  • Hi, Conor. As you can see I fell behind on my blogging due to the Thanksgiving holiday. 😮 Great post, as usual, and you hit probably my most favorite food in the world with braised lamb shanks. Love the prep and the low and slow. I also bet that sauce was the star of the show. I can just taste it. Mmmmm…I have 2 lamb shanks in the freezer that I recently purchased and was thinking sous vide but not after reading your post. Now, I will have to make them this week.

    • In computer developer language that would be Meat Reheat 1.1 I’d love to hear how it turns out.

  • Gorgeous (as always)!

  • Recipe looks great. Will certainly try. But am writing to ask some advice:
    Recently did some shanks. My recipe called for wrapping them in foil with carrots and leek and baking them at 200C for 2/half hours ( lots less that yours, although the garlic, onion, rosemary and lots of wine similar). The first one was very soft and very good. Had an appointment so I put the remainder in the fridge for the next day. Next day I put them back in the oven to reheat. After about half and hour or so I took them out and served them. But this time they were not particularly good. The fat was quite dominant and the meat seemed to get hard and glazed and tasteless…

    What went wrong, you think. Would appreciate some thoughts?

    • Hi Hans-Peter,
      Thanks for visiting. I suspect that in the higher temperature / lower time cooking the meat and connective tissues in the shanks may not have broken down completely. Also, the higher cooking temperature may have extracted a lot of moisture from the meat. When the shanks are cooked ‘low and slow’, it is possible to eat the meat with a spoon. It also tastes pretty good the following day, without any of the issues you faced. Could I suggest you give it a try? I doubt you will ever cook them quickly again.
      Best regards,

  • Some great posts and thanks never been on this site before soooooo could you help me. I am having a dinner party for 8 and this recipe sounds great but I would like to cook it the day before, and just reheat would you keep the gravy separate?

    • Hi Gerry,
      No. Keep it all in the one dish. Cover it with tinfoil to keep the moisture in. Do any gravy separation as near to serving as possible.
      Thanks for visiting and for the kind words.

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