Lamb Shank Stew with Root Vegetables


Lamb stew made with lamb shanks, parsnips, carrots, rutabagas, and turnips.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

These days when I step outside, I just want to turn around and go back in the house. Sacramento makes up for its blazingly hot summers with foggy, gloomy, dark, dismal, chilly winters, perfect weather, come to think of it, for hearty lamb stews such as this one.

Root vegetables rule the season, sweet carrots and parsnips, turnips, and the happily named rutabaga. (Rutabaga. Rutabaga. Sounds like it could be the name of a latin dance, doesn’t it?) This stew is loaded with flavor.

Don’t forget the gremolata (parsley, lemon zest, garlic garnish which I forgot to photograph in the stew); it gives the stew a great zip. For those of you lamb-non-eaters, if you try it with beef (use chuck), let us know how it goes. I imagine it will be just as good.

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Lamb Shank Stew with Root Vegetables Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds of lamb shanks, each shank cut into a couple of pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 4 carrots, 2 coarsely chopped, 2 cut into 2-inch segments, and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Two 1x3-inch strips of orange zest
  • 1 medium rutabaga, roughly chopped (1 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 medium turnip, roughly sliced or chopped (1 inch pieces)
  • 2 parsnips, chopped


  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest


1 Brown the lamb shanks: Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large Dutch oven on medium high heat.

Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, add them to the casserole and brown well on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Transfer the shanks to a plate.

2 Add garlic, celery, carrots, onion: Add the unpeeled garlic cloves, celery, chopped carrots (half of your carrots, the other half are cut lengthwise to be used later in the recipe) and onion to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

3 Add tomato paste, wine: Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the wine; boil over high heat until the liquid is very syrupy, about 5 minutes.

4 Return shanks to pan, add stock, zest, then simmer: Return the shanks to the pot and add the stock and orange zest. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and braise the shank for 3 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone tender; turn the shanks from time to time as they cook.

5 Roast root vegetables: Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the root vegetables (turnip, rutabaga, parsnips, and lengthwise-cut carrots) in a large baking pan and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for about an hour, or until tender.

6 Make gremolata: In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic with the parsley and lemon zest (the "gremolata"). Set aside.

7 Strain sauce: Remove the shanks from the pot and transfer to a plate. Pass the sauce through a coarse strainer, pressing hard on the vegetables. Discard the vegetable pulp. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce.

8 Combine sauce, lamb meat, root vegetables: Return the sauce to the pan, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Separate the lamb meat from the bones. Add the lamb meat and root vegetables; simmer just until warmed through.

Garnish with the gremolata and serve.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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28 Comments / Reviews

No ImageLamb Shank Stew with Root Vegetables

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Amanda

    I made this and we love it. I think it would also be amazing with half beef or even a Chuck roast like suggested. I had never used so many root vegetables in the pot before and we love the variety. Thank you for a recipe that’s a keeper.


  2. Ioannis

    Fantastic recipe! I used to cook venison shanks and ribs and it came out perfect.


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  3. James

    We make this every year when it finally starts to feel cool. I follow the recipe to the letter, with one minor exception. At the end of braising the shanks, rather than simply press and then discard the vegetable pulp, I take an immersion blender and puree it while it’s still in the sauce. It naturally thickens the sauce, and intensifies the flavor. Make sure you blend thoroughly so the texture is smooth.

    If you don’t do that additional step, the stew is still delicious and perfect. I probably made it 10 times before I got the idea to puree the pulp.


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  4. Edith

    This is a delicious stew and was a good way to use some of the root vegetables from our winter CSA share. The only change I made was in step 6 rather than pushing the vegetables through a strainer, I put them in a food processor along with some of the broth. This thickened the sauce and retained all the flavor. Just a thought.

  5. Peter

    Could I do this as a root vegetable stew sans the lamb or any other meat? From the ingredients, I suspect you could still get bold flavor without meat.

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