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Saba-Braised Lamb Shanks

Rated as 4.85 out of 5 Stars

"If you're looking for a foolproof, wintry braised meat dish, this is virtually impossible to screw up! The only way to screw this up is to undercook the meat. The sauce has no thickeners, just pure 100% natural goodness."
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3 h 50 m servings 334
Original recipe yields 4 servings


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  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Place lamb shanks into a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and rosemary. Toss the lamb shanks to spread oil and seasonings over the meat.
  3. Spread onion slices and garlic cloves into the bottom of a heavy 9x12-inch baking dish. Lay lamb shanks over onions and garlic.
  4. Bake lamb in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
  5. Combine chicken broth and saba in a bowl. Pour mixture over the lamb shanks. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and place baking dish on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake lamb in the oven until a knife pierces the meat easily, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat will be tender but not falling off the bone. Use tongs to turn the shanks over in the pan sauce. Increase temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  7. Return shanks to oven and bake, uncovered, until meat is fork-tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn shanks over in the sauce after 10 minutes and check for tenderness; if still not tender enough, return to oven for 10 to 15 more minutes and test again.
  8. Transfer lamb shanks to a bowl and keep warm. Strain pan juices into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Skim any excess grease from top of sauce. Taste and season with salt; stir in fresh rosemary. Serve sauce drizzled over lamb shanks.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • Saba, or "mosto cotto", is a kind of cooked grape juice--a sweet syrup made with the remnants ("must") from the winemaking process. It's similar to an aged balsamic vinegar. You can find it very easily online or at a fancy cheese or gourmet shop.
  • You can substitute an aged balsamic vinegar for the saba.
  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 334 calories; 20.5 9.8 25.9 82 1035 Full nutrition

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  1. 33 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

Needed to cook this longer.

Most helpful critical review

I cooked the shanks an hour longer than the recipe called for, but they were still not done. I think next time I’ll make them in a covered pot and take the top off the last 15-20 minutes. The t...

Most helpful
Most positive
Least positive

Needed to cook this longer.

This recipe was so good my hubby and I went and bought an entire lamb for the freezer. Can't wait to try it again. I did use basalmic vinegar instead as I had no car to run out and buy saba but ...

I had never cooked lamb before, and thought this recipe sounded perfect for my first try. This is an awesome recipe, and the lamp turned out amazing! The meat was so tender it fell right off of ...

Well that was delicious! Used balsamic as I was too lazy to go find Saba! Also used rotisserie chicken seasoning and water since I was out of chicken broth. This was probably one of the bes...

This was quite the gourmet dish. I pressure cooked a 3 lamb shanks, used a full body red wine instead of Saba. The flavor was out of this world. I will definitely make this again.

Made this for our monthly cook club and it was a big big hit. Even my buddy who said "I don't like lamb" loved it. When they showed up at the house the smell made him a believer. LOL. Also just...

Outstanding! This recipe is very flavorful and very easy. I was surprised at the complex flavors without all the fuss.

This was one of the best meals I made. My family loved it. The saba made my whole house smell divine. You can't go wrong with this recipe.

I used balsamic reduction instead of saba, it was extremely delicious.