The Recipes

Braised Icelandic Lamb Shanks

I just had to throw in the Iceland reference as a throw-back to my trip there right around the time I started this blog.  Those Icelanders have some good eats, ranging from inexpensive lamb hot dogs and soups to some of the best, high-end meals you'll ever have.

This was the main course during dinner with my friends Paul and Cathy.  Kudos to Paul for getting the Icelandic lamb and butter from the store!

Braised Icelandic Lamb Shanks


- 1 lamb shank per person
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 c. diced tomatoes
- 1 red chile pepper, finely diced
- 2-3 c. beef stock
- 1/2 c. red wine
- 1 T. cumin seeds
- 1 bulb celery root, trimmed of tough outsides and cut into 1-in. pieces
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in. pieces
- 2-3 T. of Icelandic butter
- handful of cumin seeds
-  olive oil
- salt
- pepper
- 1 lemon, zested

Heat 2-3 T. of olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy, oven-safe pot.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season the lamb shanks liberally with salt and pepper.  Sear them in the hot oil on all sides until a brown crust forms; approximately 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove the lamb shanks and drain some of the oil if you prefer.  Add the carrots, celery and pepper to the oil and season with salt.  Let the vegetables sweat until tender; approximately 7-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for a minute longer.  Add the wine and let it reduce by half.  Next, add the tomatoes.  Season again lightly with salt and stir. Nestle the lamb shanks back into the tomatoes and pour in enough stock to come up 3/4 of the sides of the shanks.  Cover and let them cook for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until the shanks are falling off the bone.

During the last 30 minutes, add the potatoes and celery root to a cold pot of salted water.  Bring it to a boil and cover.  Let them boil for 20-30 minutes.  Both vegetables should be completely fork tender.  Drain the vegetables.  How these got prepared was all Cathy - she toasted the cumin in a bit of olive oil and added some butter to the vegetables and mashed away.

Plate the vegetables and nestle a lamb shank on top.  Spoon over some of the sauce and finish with the lemon zest to brighten it up.  Fresh herbs would be a very welcome addition here.  You can also puree the sauce if you want something smoother.