Lamb Shanks Braised in Chipotle and Coffee
  • 6 Lamb Shanks seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2-3 Tbs. Olive Oil for browning
  • 2 Large Onions, chopped
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 2 - 3 Chipotle Chili’s in Adobo, chopped
  • 2 8 oz Cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 1½ cup of strong, brewed, black coffee
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1-2 cups of hot water, red or white wine or Chicken Stock to cover the shanks
  • 4 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped as desired
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees or if you have a convection oven, set it for 300 degrees. Heat the Olive Oil in your Dutch oven or cooking pan and sear the lamb shanks, a few at a time, until dark brown and crusted. Use thongs to turn them as they brown. Set the browned shanks aside on a plate.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the braising liquid: combine the tomato sauce, 2 of the chipotle chili’s, coffee, maple syrup, 2 teaspoons of salt, a few grinds of pepper and 1 cup of water, stock or wine together in a large mixing bowl. Taste the liquid and add the remaining chili to taste.
  3. Pour out all but a thin film of the oil and sauté the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes then add the garlic. Cook, stirring often for 1 minute. Nestle the shanks in the pan and pour the braising liquid over the contents in the pan. Add more water, stock or wine to cover the shanks. Heat to a gentle boil on the stove top, seal with a lid and transfer it to the oven.
  4. Braise the Lamb for 1 ½ hours, then check the contents of the Dutch oven. Add more of the stock, wine or water if needed, turn the shanks and add the carrots. Return the Lamb to the oven and braise for 1 hour more. Pull the pan from the oven. Check to see if the lamb is tender, if not return to the oven for 30 minutes. When the lamb is tender remove the pan from the oven and let it rest uncovered until you are ready to finish the dish.*
  5. To finish the dish, skim the fat from the pot. Taste the braising liquid and adjust the seasoning with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Serve the shanks over polenta, rice, faro, pasta, polenta or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!!!
*the recipe can be made ahead at this point. Cool the dish to room temperature and refrigerate up to 3 days. Continue as directed.
Recipe by Monica's Table at