Garlic Stuffed Lamb Shanks in Mint Wine Reduction

This is a fairly quick recipe to put together and your guests are going to love it. It sure beats the heck out of the old dry chicken that seems to get served every year. Unless you’re using my Cuban Mojo Chicken recipe made with a KOL Foods Julia Roaster. But that’s another recipe.

  • 4-6 KOL Foods Lamb Shanks
  • 2-3 Heads of Garlic
  • 6 Shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 Carrots cut thick and rustic
  • 6 - 8 Fresh Sweet Basil Leaves - Chopped
  • ½ Cup Chopped Mint Leaves
  • 1/3 cup Rosemary Leaves
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups of Red Wine. I like Kadesh Barnea, preferably Negev.
  • ½ Cup of White Wine (optional)

First you want to start with a glass of wine. This is for you to drink. Why? Because we're making this recipe for Pesach (Passover) and if you're at the point of making this recipe, you've already cleaned the house, turned everything upside down and basically revamped everything in your kitchen. So trust me, you are ready for that wine. If at the Seder we’re supposed to have four cups of wine, I double it when I’m preparing the day before.

Now, you’re ready to cook. First start with four to six lamb shanks. Of course I love the ones from KOL Foods. They're great. It’s the only completely pasture raised, 100% grass fed glatt kosher meat available. Plus, there’s no antibiotics, no growth hormones and the flavor is phenomenal.

Start by cutting some slits into the meat. You can use a boning knife or a paring knife for this. Then you simply stuff the shanks with the whole garlic cloves. About six to eight per shank. If you don't use garlic on Pesach you can use some shallots or you can use some onions. But for me garlic is king. Next, lightly salt all sides of the lamb shanks Now do the same thing with some fresh cracked black pepper.

Meanwhile in a stove-to-oven pan, heat up some extra-virgin olive oil. We’re going to start by searing the shanks in the EVVO and then add liquid so that they actually cook in the liquid. This whole process is called braising. We have a tradition not to serve meat that's roasted at the Seders so the cooking process of any meat at your Seder should take place in a liquid.

While they’re searing in the pan, add your shallots left over garlic and the carrots. Once they’re seared, about a minute per side . . . no more, add the wine. Please don’t forget to take another sip for yourself as well. Adding the wine will stop the searing and start our shanks cooking. It doesn’t matter if you use only red, or add a little white to it. I prefer to use only the red. Once the wine is in, add all of your herbs and distribute them evenly throughout the pan.

Now you simply put a lid on it, I’m talking about on the pan. Once covered, put it in a 350-degree oven for at least an hour and a half. You want the shanks to cook down, letting the fat render into everything, letting the sweetness of the garlic melt into everything and letting the herbs, especially the mint, reduce down with the wine. You can even let them cook for two or two and a half hours, so don’t panic on the time.

When time’s up, take them out of the oven, let them cool down a bit and then plate one lamb shank per person. Make sure you put some of that nice wine reduction on them along with some carrots and shallots. Add a mint garnish with a little more fresh rosemary and you have a beautiful presentation.

I pair this with the Kadesh Barnea Negev wine. It’s strong enough to stand up to the lamb, but gentle enough to go down easy. I have to thank my friends at Harken Spirits for importing this directly from Israel for us.

L’Chaim . . . Avi