Oven Braised Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate – a festive, Moroccan-inspired lamb recipe that is elegant and delicious! Succulent lamb shanks are roasted in the oven until tender and falling off the bone then drizzled with a flavorful pomegranate sauce. Serve over creamy soft polenta or cous cous with Sweet and spicy Moroccan Roasted carrots!
Let lamb come to room temp (unwrap on counter 20-30 mins) and season lamb generously with kosher salt.
Sear: Heat oil in an extra large heavy bottomed Dutch oven. Working in batches, sear the lamb shanks on all sides over medium high (or medium) heat. Take your time here and do this well. Set the shanks aside. Drain the oil.
Make the Braising Liquid: Add the water to the same pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer 3-4 minutes. To the water, add onion, garlic, fennel, beet, orange peel, herbs and spices and salt to the pan and stir until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, and gently simmer until alcohol cooks off, another 5 mintues. Add the pomegrantate juice, chicken stock and maple syrup, stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
Braise: nestle the lamb shanks down in the liquid,on their side, meaty side down, bring to a simmer on the stove, then cover well, and place in a 325 F for 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender (internal temp 195-205F) Keep in mind that larger shanks will take longer to cook, smaller shanks, less time, so if in doubt, check at 1 1/2 hours- add more time if not tender. Basically, meat will get more tender as it braises, but you may need to add more broth or stock if using big shanks. So check liquid level.
Season and REST: When shanks are tender, remove from pan, rest on a platter or baking dish in a warm spot like the stove top 20-30 minutes. While resting make the sauce.
Make the sauce. Strain the braising liquid. If making ahead, you could let this cool in the fridge to allow more fat to separate (it will rise and harden) or skim off warm fat with a ladle. Place 1 1/2 cups, skimmed braising liquid in a small sauce pan and simmer, reducing just until it tastes flavorful. It really doesn’t need to reduce until “thickened” (see notes) which may result in flavors getting too salty or condensed. Add a little splash of vinegar. Season it with salt and pepper. Sometimes I’ll add a little squeeze of orange juice. Up to you.
Serve the lamb shanks on a platter, spoon the flavorful sauce over top, garnish with fresh pomegrante seeds and a few sprigs of rosemary.
Or Plate the lamb shank over the polenta or couscous, spoon the flavorful sauce overtop. Garnish with fresh pomegrate seeds. Fresh parsley is nice here or a sprig of rosemary, something green. 🙂
If new to braising red meat- the internal temp must reach 190F and stay there a while for the tough fibers to break down and become tender. The longer you braise, the more tender it will get, as long as it’s in the braising liquid. You can always add more broth to the liquid. In this case, I like the lamb to be fork tender, but not too tender as it will literally fall off the bone, which of course still tastes delcious, but then you’ll loose that lovely bone-in presentation. Up to you.