Braised Lamb Shanks with Kale, and Creamy Polenta

Hope you're all having a fabulous Christmas and holiday season! I finally re-entered my kitchen after having my baby. Quick shout out to my mother in law who stayed with us for about 3 weeks after my c-section and generously made all of our meals, did all the laundry, made trips upstairs for me, and was just all-around awesome. I don't know what we would have done without her! Recovering from a c-section is serious business!

So, my first venture back into the kitchen was a big one: our Christmas Eve dinner for our little family of three. On the menu: braised lamb shanks and kale over creamy polenta.  

I adapted the recipe from one I saw in Bon Appetit magazine awhile back. It was amazing!! My modified version is below for your viewing pleasure.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Kale


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cardamom, divided
  • 4-6 lamb shanks
  • 1/4 cup evoo
  • one bunch green onions, chopped, divided
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14.5 oz can whole san marzano tomatoes
  • 1 32 oz box of beef broth
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads, crumbled
  • large pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Whisk flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in pie dish to blend. Working with 1 lamb shank at a time, coat shanks in seasoned flour. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 lamb shanks. Sauté until brown, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer lamb to large roasting pan. Repeat with remaining 2-3 lamb shanks.

  • Add half of green onions to same skillet. Reduce heat to low; stir 2 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice, 2 cups of broth, raisins, tomato paste, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, saffron, and cloves. Increase heat and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Return lamb to pot.

  • Cover dutch oven; place in oven. Braise lamb until tender, turning every 30 minutes, about 21/2 hours. Transfer lamb to large rimmed baking sheet. Set pan aside.

  • Meanwhile, cut center rib (including stem portion) from each kale leaf. Roughly chop kale. 

  • Spoon off all fat from top of sauce in dutch oven. Add kale and remaining green onions and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Return lamb to pot. Cover and return to oven. Braise for 20 minutes, and for an addition 5 minutes uncovered. 

  • I served this over creamy polenta (okay, all honesty, it was actually creamy, cheese grits, but polenta sounds fancier). But, this would be great over mashed potatoes or over pasta.

    To plate, portion out your polenta, grits, mashed potatoes, or whatever you're serving the lamb with. Top with a lamb shank and cover it with the kale / sauce mixture.

    Isn't that gorgeous? We're not done yet.

    Garnish with a bit of fresh parsley.



    Pin It


    Popular Posts