Posts tagged ‘orange’

Classic Easter Dinner: Lamb Shank with Orange and Mint

If you are anything like me, you’ve probably had a scary lamb experience: tough as shoe leather legs of lamb, gamey mutton, or unknown lamb parts covered in a “not found in nature” green mint jelly. I’m here to tell you that lamb can be not just good, but great, and you don’t have to be a professional chef to make it great. Lamb is one of the most forgiving meats out there and can be very affordable when you catch cuts like leg and shank on sale. So, I am asking you to give lamb a chance this Spring. For a fool-proof way to get your feet wet, start with a slowly braised lamb shank. While this recipe is a bit more involved than a typical weeknight dinner recipe, it’s not particularly difficult and you can get other things done while the shanks braise.

And while mint really does go very well with lamb, put the jelly down. Seriously. Put it down. As this recipe shows, there are many better ways to pair lamb with its familiar partner.

Recipe: Lamb Shank with Orange & Mint


  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours


  • 1 oz. canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 whole lamb shank, trimmed
  • 1 small onion, diced large
  • 5 baby carrots, cut into thirds
  • 1 rib celery, diced large
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 oz. white wine
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c. beef or lamb stock
  • 1 orange
  • 3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • ¼ c. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. butter


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the oil to large, deep oven-safe skillet (preferably one with a lid) and heat to medium high. Salt and pepper the lamb shank generously and sear it on all sides. Remove the lamb from the skillet and set it aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, carrots and celery. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften.
  4. Add the garlic and the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste is cooked and no longer raw tasting, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine to the pan and stir, scraping up all of the brown bits off of the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook until the wine is reduced by half.
  5. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and the stock to the pan, stirring everything together to combine. Return the seared lamb to the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and then move it to the oven. Cook until the lamb is fork tender (around 2 hours), adding more stock if necessary to keep it from drying out.
  6. While the lamb braises, fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Zest the orange and add the zest to the boiling water for 1 minute, then remove and strain.
  7. Slice the peel off of the orange, cut the slices of orange out from between the white skin, and set aside.
  8. Pull the mint leaves from the sprigs and set them aside.
  9. When the lamb is fork tender, remove the skillet from the oven and move the lamb to a serving platter to rest.
  10. Remove the thyme stems and bay leaves from the sauce and put the skillet back on the stove over medium heat.
  11. Put the mint stems and the zest into the liquid in the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the liquid to about a cup and then strain it into a clean pot (the one you boiled the zest in is fine).
  12. While the liquid is reducing, mince mint leaves very finely.
  13. Add the orange juice to the reduced liquid, place it over medium heat, and reduce the sauce again by half. Taste the sauce and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Add the butter, the finely minced mint leaves, and the skinless orange slices. Stir until the butter is melted then pour onto the serving plate around the lamb shank.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

  • Use an oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven with a fitted lid if you have one. This will prevent the liquid from evaporating too quickly during the braise. If you don’t have a lid for your pan, use a double thickness of foil and seal it tightly around the edge of the pan.
  • You can use dried herbs for this if you prefer, but use the fresh ones if you have access to them. The flavors will be brighter.
  • Make sure you remove the thyme sprig and the bay leaf before serving; no one wants to chew on twiggy stems or inedible leaves.
  • Serve this over polenta or mashed potatoes for a hearty Easter dinner.

March 31, 2010 at 12:05 pm Leave a comment


Recent Posts

Twitter Chatter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Let’s Connect

Follow me on Twitter

RSS Blog Posts I’m Reading

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
counter for wordpress