Braised Greek Lamb Shanks with Tomato and Red Wine

A whole braised Greek lamb shank with wine, tomatoes and fresh herbs is one of the most satisfying things I know of to eat. This Greek braised lamb shank recipe (goat shanks work too) are a great one to keep around if you want a new recipe to try. It’s a favorite dish my family looks forward to every year after the fall harvest.

Two braised Greek lamb shanks in a pot garnished with parsley ready to serve.
Rich, tender lamb shanks with traditional Greek flavors.

This recipe comes from the Greek side of my girlfriend’s family and has been passed down through the family over the years. It was originally found in an old Greek Orthodox church cookbook. Whenever we harvest lamb on the farm, it’s a tradition to save all the shanks to give to my girlfriend’s sister just so she can make her Greek lamb shanks. It’s a meal that the whole family looks forward to every year.

Trimming the top of the meat from a lamb shank.
The first step is to trim the shanks for a nice presentation. This step is optional.

How to Make Braised Greek Lamb Shanks

It’s a really simple recipe: all you need is a large braising or baking dish, a good can of tomatoes, a stick or two of cinnamon, and, like most shank recipes, a good amount of time set aside to slowly cook the shanks into a tender, delicious meal. The recipe makes a generous amount of rich, tomato gravy, and reheats very well.

The first thing you need to do is season the shanks and dry brine them overnight. Dry brining is a secret trick of mine for working with meat. Allowing it to rest overnight dries out the outside of the meat, helping it brown better and locking in the seasoning. When it’s time to cook the shanks you brown them in a pan, then add plenty of chopped onions, a little garlic and ginger.

Browned lamb shanks in a slow cooker with onions.
Browning the shanks and putting in a slow cooker.

After the shanks are browned you add a can of pureed tomatoes and red wine, along with a strip of orange peel and some spices. The meat is cooked until tender, but not so long that it would fall off the bone. Lamb shanks aren’t hard to cook, but they are hard to cook right. When perfectly made, the shank should be tender enough to cut with a spoon, and should also hold its shape.

Finished slow cooked lamb shanks in a slow cooker.
Slow cook the shanks with tomato, red wine, cinnamon stick, and orange peel. A slow cooker works good.

When the meat is tender you can serve the shanks or cool them down and reheat them, storing them in an airtight container in the fridge. The flavor will improve over time. Serve them with mashed potatoes, rice or polenta. For a side dish, consider braised bitter greens.

Greek lamb or goat shank recipe
The finished braised lamb shanks.
Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo, The Forager Chef

This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a culinary industry veteran, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about chef Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef®. 

Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

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Greek lamb or goat shank recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Braised Greek Style Lamb Shanks with Tomato and Red Wine

A simple recipe for greek lamb shanks passed down in our family.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Lamb Shanks
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 337kcal
Cost: 30


  • 1 Large oven safe braising or roasting pan or slow cooker



  • 4 front lamb shanks or goat shanks
  • 1.5 Tablespoons minced fresh garlic cloves about 2 large cloves
  • ½ Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cups lamb or chicken stock or water
  • 2 1 inch strips of orange zest bruised
  • 1 2 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 small onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes or 1 15 oz can
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons lamb lard or light olive oil


  • Steamed rice and wilted greens for serving (optional)


Trim the shanks

  • First, trim the top 2 inches of the shanks by cutting around the bone with a paring knife. Remove the meat to expose the bone, which makes for a nice presentation. This step is optional.

Season the shanks

  • Season the lamb shanks aggressively with salt and pepper (roughly 3/4 teaspoon salt per pound) and allow to sit overnight.


  • Brown the lamb shanks very well in 2 tablespoons of the lard or oil over medium high heat in a heavy pan like a cast iron skillet, then transfer the seared lamb shanks to a baking dish. Pour off any dark fat from the pan, then add remaining tablespoon of fat and add the garlic, cooking until deep golden in color.
  • Quickly add the add the onion and ginger, stir to halt the garlic cooking, and cook for 5-10 minutes more.
  • Add the wine, scrape up any browned bits, and pour the mixture over the shanks, along with the, zest, stock, cinnamon and tomatoes. If you have a deep pan, or are cooking a smaller number of shanks, you could brown and cook the shanks in the same pot, instead of transferring them to a baking dish.
  • Cover the shanks with a lid or parchment and then aluminum foil if using a large baking dish, then bake in a preheated oven at 325 for exactly 1.5 hours, or until the meat just gives when pierced with a fork.
  • The meat should not fall off the bone, which would mean the shanks are over-cooked. Skim as much fat as you can from the sauce.
  • Remove the zest and discard, then transfer the liquid to a blender and pulse, or buzz gently with a hand-blender. (If you want, you can also serve the sauce as is if you like it) Reduce the sauce a bit to thicken it to a loose gravy, taste and correct the seasoning for salt, then serve alongside the lamb shanks at the table, with steamed rice and wilted greens seasoned with lemon juice on the side.


For a fun variation, the shanks can be smoked for two hours at 300 F before braising to add a rich, smoky flavor to the dish. 


Serving: 1Shank | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 331mg | Potassium: 792mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 144IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 5mg