I love lamb shanks: tender, flavorful meat falling off the bone. Now, I can hear some of you out there, saying: “Lamb? It’s so gamy!” I have family members who say the same thing. This is the recipe I make when I want to change their minds. 1
Shanks need long, slow cooking to tenderize; undercook them and they’re tough and chewy. In the pressure cooker, high pressure stands in for the long cooking time – 45 minutes under pressure, plus a 15 minute natural pressure release, replaces three to four hours of gentle simmering. This is why I love pressure cooking, even when it doesn’t give me a 30 minute meal – in this case, I can squeeze an all day recipe down to a little over an hour.
No pressure cooker? No worries. See the notes section for dutch oven instructions.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Lamb Shanks
Pressure Cooker Lamb Shanks recipe, Provencal style. Tender lamb shanks in about an hour, thanks to the pressure cooker.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 lamb shanks
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes (with juices)
- Sear the lamb shanks: Season the shanks with the 2 teaspoons of salt. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering. Brown the shanks in 2 batches, 2 shanks at a time. Sear the shanks for 3 minutes per side, or until well browned, then remove to a bowl and sear the next pair of shanks.
- Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, garlic, tomato paste, and Herbes de Provence to the pot. Sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute for five minutes, or until the onions soften and the tomato paste is starting to brown. Add the wine to the pot, bring to a simmer, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Stir in the chicken stock and tomatoes, then add the lamb shanks and any lamb juices from the bowl. Push the lamb shanks into the liquid as much as possible.
- Pressure cook for 35/45 minutes: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, then cook at high pressure for 35 minutes (45 minutes for an electric pressure cooker). Remove from the heat, allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any pressure left in the pot.
- Defat the sauce: Remove the lamb shanks to a platter. Strain the sauce into a fat separator and let the fat float to the top, about five minutes. Pour some of the defatted sauce over the shanks, and pass the rest at the table.
- Pressure cookers are tall and narrow, and lamb shanks have a long bone. (Kind of the point of the whole shank thing, after all.) The lamb shanks I got for testing this recipe were too long for my pressure cooker pot; I had a rough time getting them browned, because they wouldn’t fit flat in the bottom. In the end they turned out fine, even with minimal browning, but if you have your choice of shanks, look for shorter bones. Also, don’t worry if the bones are poking up past the “max fill” line when you’re ready to cook – just make sure the liquid is below the line, and the lid will close.
- No pressure cooker? No worries. Use a dutch oven with a heavy lid, and follow the instructions as written. When you get to the “lock the lid” part, add enough chicken stock or water to cover 3/4 of the lamb shanks. Put the lid on the pot, bring the pot to a simmer, then move the pot to a preheated 350°F oven for three to four hours, until the lamb shanks are tender and falling off the bone. Continue with the “defat the sauce” step.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Pressure Cooker Lamb Stew with Guiness and Barley
Pressure Cooker Persian Lamb Shanks with Eggplant and Tomatoes (Khoresht Bademjan)
Pressure Cooker Beef Shank (Osso Bucco)
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
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