This recipe goes to the OMG FILES.

I realize with the heat wave hitting most places in the US of A this may not be too appealing, but keep in mind that my dear friends and family in São Paulo are freezing. My friends in Australia probably shivering a little, so folks, this one is for you. By the way, did you know that no homes have central heating in São Paulo? That means when the temperature is 40 F outside, it is about 40 F inside too.  I remember – not too fondly – the ordeal it was to wake up during winter and cover the distance between bed ant bathroom for the morning shower. The reverse happens in the summer, very few homes have air-conditioning and well, you know how hot a tropical country can get.  But, back to food. This is a fantastic recipe. The crock pot works perfectly for this type of meat. Best if made a few days in advance, so that all those sauce flavors intensify in the fridge. Lamb shanks are Phil’s favorite, he always orders them in restaurants, if available. He was a super happy camper that evening… Even more so because I managed to surprise him. Prepared the braise during the weekend and awed him a couple of days later.  What’s for dinner tonight? Oh, nothing special, just some braised lamb shanks… (not sure why I never got a call from Hollywood).



(adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

1 shallot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
6 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup water
2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (I used canned)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup red wine

Put the shallot, celery, carrots,, water, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf in a slow cooker and stir to combine.

Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add the shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to the slow cooker.

Remove the sauté pan from the heat, pour in the wine and return to medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the wine to the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 6 hours. Transfer the lamb shanks to a large serving dish.

Remove the bay leaf from the cooking liquid. If you’d like to de-fat the sauce, transfer the crock pot to the refrigerator, or save the shanks and the sauce in separate containers in the fridge.  Next day remove the fat congealed on the surface.  If you like a very smooth sauce, puree the liquids until smooth, add to the meat, then re-heat the whole thing together.  Alternatively, you can keep the sauce and veggies as they are in the final braising and serve with the shanks.


to print the recipe, click here

meat and sauce

Every once in a while our grocery store will carry cute packages of New Zealand lamb shanks, and sometimes they even put them on sale for a lot less than the “arm and a leg” price tag they normally go for. Fully aware of Phil’s endless love for lamb shanks, I keep an eye for those sales. June started with a few days of cool weather, perfect for this type of meal.

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks


The meat was literally falling off the bone…  I kept the carrots and celery in pieces instead of pureeing the sauce, do whatever you prefer. Served with mashed cauliflower and sweet peas, this was good enough to make me long for winter. Ha! Did I fool you? Probably not. By now  you should know that long for and winter are never in the same sentence for me.

pinterestlambGo ahead and pin me!

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  1. This looks TASTY!!! I am definitely trying this, and because it’s made in the slow cooker, who cares what’s going on with the weather, right?

    P.S. Someday I will have to tell you the story about the time my Italian Swiss grandmother made lamb shanks for Thanksgiving.


    • Would love to hear that story! Actually I am amazed by how often I’ve been using the crockpot, even in the summer… plus, I leave it plugged in the laundry room, so it doesn’t even occupy space in the kitchen…. I think I’m in love…. 😉


  2. Oh this has been in the OMG file forever🙂 ! And gales are blasting all around me and I have never had AC: just something called a ‘heatbank’ that pokes its nose at me when the weather gets beyond where it wants to go!!! Well, I DO use onions instead of the elegant shallot and [forgive me!!] quite a bit of garlic to boot to make this 🙂 !! And slow-cook it above a barely-on stove . . . but it does work and I do love it!!! . . . . and really must fish out those shanks in the freezer . . .


    • I should always make a remark about garlic, as 99% of people like it so much… but I keep forgetting… since you know me, you can “read in between the lines” and grab your garlic cloves 😉


  3. We do have air conditioning here in Perth (Australia) but not central heating and it is pretty chilly here this morning. You have reminded me that is a while since I had a lamb shank – ideal for my baby slow cooker.


    • My folks in Brazil have been whining soooo much! Poor things… it’s been cold sometimes, and without central heating they struggle… but it’s never for more than 2 or 3 days in a row, if that


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