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Armenian Lamb Shanks

Our favorite lamb shank recipe variation.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Par Boiling & Refrigerating 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 50 minutes
Course Main Course


  • 4 lamb shanks (meaty, fat trimmed)
  • 1 onion (large, coarsely chopped)
  • 4 carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 3 celery stalks (coarsely chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • tbsp olive oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • cups lamb broth (homemade preferred, water or low-sodium beef broth may be used instead)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


Day 1

  • Parboil shanks in a large pot of lightly salted water for about 2 hours. The water should almost cover the shanks. By doing this, the cooking time is cut down on serving day, and you’ll end up with a large bowl of lamb broth for future recipes – soup, lamb and string bean stew, or whatever you are inspired to prepare.
  • Cool the broth and place it in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim off any fat that rises to the top and discard. Use some of the broth to prepare the shanks; the remaining broth can be stored in containers and placed in the freezer for future recipes.

Day 2: Serving Day

  • Sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil in a pot large enough to hold the shanks, vegetables and broth. Add the shanks, bay leaves, broth and seasonings to taste.
  • Place a cover on the pot in a tilted position; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer shanks for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check periodically to ensure there is still enough liquid to prevent burning. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  • Remove bay leaves. Once done, the tender, falling-off-the-bone lamb, can be served in individual bowls over a bed of buttered noodles with plenty of vegetables and cooking liquid from the pot. Armenian rice or bulgur pilaf would be an ideal accompaniment in place of the noodles.
  • Crusty bread or garlic bread (for dipping into the juices) and a tossed green salad make for a very satisfying and traditional lamb shank dinner.


Recipe option: Instead of using lamb broth, add 1/2 to 1 cup red wine depending on the number of lamb shanks. Then add a 15 oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes with liquid (and additional liquid, if necessary) and dried herbs, such as oregano and thyme, depending on the amount of meat. Continue to cook as mentioned above for day 2.
What to do with Leftover Meat from the Shanks:
Larger leftover meat pieces may be shredded and added to a string bean stew, while smaller bits of leftovers may be turned into a breakfast hash with an egg on top.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!