Lamb shanks in the slow cooker

The shank is one of the most flavorful cuts of lamb, but it needs long, slow cooking to be tender. It is ideally suited to the slow cooker. If possible, get hind shanks, which tend to be a bit meatier than the fore shanks. They come in various sizes, the smaller ones make a nice meal for one person while the larger ones (as in the photo) will ensure some leftovers unless you are truly hungry. The dish, after browning the shanks and ready to start the slow cooking, is shown here.

Lamb shanks

2 large or 4 small lamb shanks
1 large onion peeled and cut into large (1″) pieces
1 c each carrots and celery in 1″ pieces
10 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 bottle of flavorful beer
1 rosemary sprig

The first step is to brown the shanks in a bit of olive oil – trim excess fat, wipe dry, and season with S&P first. I know the hassle of browning sort of goes against the slow cooker philosophy of “throw it in the pot and turn it on,” but it really does improve the flavor.

Put the browned shanks in the slow cooker (discard any browning fat left in the pan) and pile the vegetable over and around them, finishing with the rosemary sprig. Pour half the beer over. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Turn the shanks over and add more beer if the pot looks like it might dry out. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 4 hours. Enjoy!

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