Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits Recipe

You'd never guess that this sophisticated dish was made in a slow-cooker. The key to restaurant-quality lamb results is to select shanks roughly the same size and that have been trimmed of excess fat and the tendons along the bone. Save the reserved liquid for making incredible grits.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits
Photo: Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke
Active Time:
50 mins
Slow Cook Time:
6 hrs
Total Time:
7 hrs 10 mins
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 lamb shank, about 1 cup grits)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 lamb shanks (about 11 oz.) each, trimmed

  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 medium-size yellow onions (about 1 lb.), cut into 1-inch wedges

  • 2 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed (about 1 Tbsp.)

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 4 cups plus 1 Tbsp. water, divided

  • 1 cup uncooked stone-ground yellow grits

  • 2 1/2 ounces finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives, divided

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle lamb with 2 ½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove lamb from skillet. Add onions, carrots, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add ½ cup dry red wine; cook, until mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow-cooker. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, and ground cumin. Add lamb shanks, nestling into tomato mixture. Cover and cook on LOW until lamb is very tender, about 6 hours.

  2. Transfer lamb shanks to a plate. Pour cooking mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Reserve strained cooking liquid. Set aside lamb shanks, covered.

  3. Bring 2 cups reserved strained cooking liquid to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium. Whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cooking liquid; cook until thickened and reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Set sauce aside; keep warm.

  4. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk grits into boiling water; cook, whisking constantly, until smooth, about 45 seconds. Return to a boil; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Whisk in Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, unsalted butter, and 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.

  5. Divide grits among 4 shallow bowls. Top each with a lamb shank; spoon sauce over top, and garnish with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives.

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