Nina’s Tips & Techniques: Fall Cooking Series featuring Shanks

I see these in the meat department…I mean, what do I even do with them??

I always say, the cheaper the cut, the more delicious the possibilities! These tough, strange-looking cuts of meat pack tons of flavor, and when they are prepared correctly – with time and care – they yield the most incredibly tender meat. There is nothing better on a cold day than a braised lamb shank.

Shanks benefit from long, slow cooking – stewing or braising. And if you’re familiar with this newsletter, you already know I LOVE my Instant Pot, and shanks are a great candidate for the Instant Pot. Under pressure you can make braised shanks in 90 minutes rather than 3-4 hours. Don’t overthink shanks…all you really have to do is throw them in a pot with some veggies, aromatics, and some kind of liquid and braise them until the meat is falling off the bone. Shanks, because of the large bone, are also great for making broth. If you’re a bone-broth drinker, try making your broth with shank bones.. You can cut the meat off before they go in and use it in a stew. Or you can just throw the whole thing in and remove the cooked meat at the end when you strain your broth. Save the meat for sandwiches, toss with pasta and tomatoes, or serve over rice and veggies.

Shanks always look like they are all bone. How many shanks do I need to get a serving of meat?

I try to look at the poundage and not the physical size. When you are buying a cut of meat with a large bone you should estimate 1:1 bone to meat. So if the shank weighs a pound then it’s probably half a pound of bone and half a pound of meat.

Featured Recipe: Lamb Shanks braised in Tomato with Persian Spices