Lamb Shank Osso Buco Style

Customer Question: “Can Osso Buco be made with lamb?”

Absolutely! It is especially good made from lamb shanks. Osso Buco is Italian for bone with a hole and refers to the marrow in the center of the cross cut shank. The reason for cutting is to expose the richness of the bone marrow. Purchase the shank cut or cut them yourself with a meat saw.

The ideal shank dish has vital nutrients extracted from the bone marrow, protein and healthy fat. Traditionally the dish doesn’t include tomatoes and was flavored with cinnamon.  Our recipe uses shanks braised with vegetables, wine and broth. The shanks may be served with mash potatoes, rice, risotto, linguini or other options.

Osso Bucco lamb shank
Osso Bucco lamb shank created by Executive Chef Jes Werkmeister


Lamb shanks cut in thirds
Lamb shanks cut in thirds

2 Lamb shanks (approx. 1 lb ea cut in 3 pieces Occo Bucco style)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons flour (or as needed for dredging)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
3 Roma tomatoes, cut in half and crush by hand
3 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup dry red wine
2-3 cups chicken or beef stock

Cheesecloth Spice Pouch

1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 dry bay leaf
2 whole cloves

Garnish (optional)

1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Edible petals

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Lamb shanks browned
Lamb shanks browned

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

  • Spread flour on a large plate and season it with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Dredge the shanks in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess.
  • Heat approximately 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy, oven safe pot until very hot. Add the shanks and sear on all sides, turning carefully with tongs, until they are a richly browned with a crust (approx. 3 minutes per side). Drizzle a little more oil into the pan if needed.
  • Remove the browned shanks and reserve.
  • Add the diced onions, carrots, tomato, celery, parsley and a little more olive oil to the pot if needed.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté until soft and translucent (approx. 10 minutes).
  • Add tomato paste and continue to sauté until tomato paste becomes slightly dark with a rich aroma (approx. 15 minutes).
  • Osso Bucco Lamb Shanks
    Plated Osso Buco Lamb Shanks

    Add the wine, oregano and lemon juice. Do not skip the lemon juice, it draws the minerals out of the bones adding to the nutrition of this dish. Bring to a boil while scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

  • Add the broth, browned shanks, and spice pouch to the pan.
  • Cover the pot, transfer it to the oven, and braise the shanks for two hours.
  • Remove the lid after 1 ½ hours and continue to roast uncovered for the last ½ hr.
  • When done the sauce should be thick and the meat tender and nearly falling off the bone.
  • Discard the spice pouch.
  • If desired, garnish with parsley, lemon zest and edible petals.

Serves 4

Note: The level of cooking liquid should always be about ¾ the way up the shank.

The featured Occo Bucco dish was created by Executive Chef Jes Werkmeister using Shepherd Song’s lamb shanks.

Photographs of the shanks being prepared and cooked were provided by a customer and used with permission.