Lengthy slow-cooking yields drop-off-the-bone tenderness in every bite. The secret to restaurant-quality results is to select shanks of roughly the same size that have been trimmed of excess fat and the tendons along the bone. Save the braising liquid—it makes an incredible sauce. These easy slow-cooked lamb shanks are as versatile as they are tasty. We developed three recipes around these melt-in-your-mouth lamb shanks, proving that whipping up a batch of these is always in your best interest at the beginning of the busy week. Use these lamb shanks to create our Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits that make a worthy contender for any dinner party, our Shepherd’s Pie that radiates winter weeknight comfort, or our Carbonara with Braised Lamb that will impress even your most kitchen-abled friend. It’s impossible to fail if your recipe includes these slow-cooker lamb shanks. Thanks to the dry red wine, garlic cloves, crushed tomatoes, and cumin, the braising liquid makes every dish burst with savory flavor. We happily douse grits, mashed potatoes, or even pasta in the intensely flavored sauce. When in doubt, pull out your slow cooker and purchase some lamb shanks—because this recipe will elevate your dinner game without any extra hassle.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet. Add onions, carrots, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add red wine; cook, until mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes, broth, and cumin. Nestle lamb into tomato mixture. Cover; cook on LOW until very tender, about 6 hours.
Transfer lamb to a plate. Pour cooking mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Reserve strained liquid.