Lamb Shanks Braised in Chipotle and Coffee

By January 19, 2016 Lamb, Recipes 6 Comments

I love lamb shanks and braises like this are the thing for me on a cold night. Thanks to Twitter, I found this recipe on Boston Zest and was so intrigued by the flavors I had to try it. I’ve adjusted the recipe since I couldn’t locate the chipotle sauce, I had red wine left over so I used it, then adjusted other things to suit my tastes. Your version of this recipe could differ depending on what you have on hand.  This is the beauty of the braise. If you stick to good ingredients and use the strongly flavored ones sparingly (like the chipotle), it will be a magical experience!


This recipe begs for one of the enamel coated cast iron Dutch ovens like Le Creuset or Staub but any a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven will work as long as it has a lid that will seal tightly. I used my 7 qt round Le Creuset and it worked beautifully.

See below for the my version of the recipe.  I like to make this dish a few days ahead to let the flavors meld. It is truly a gift to have this in the refrigerator to serve for dinner with minimal fuss

I served this dish with steamed Tuscan kale but green beans, Brussels sprouts or any fresh green vegetable will compliment this dish.

Please hop over to Boston Zest and check out their version of the recipe.

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.


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