Lamb Shanks with Creamy White Beans and Yellow Turnip Puree

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 3h 5m

Makes 6 servings

Braising lamb shanks properly makes the meat so tender that it comes off the bone with just the tug of a fork. It's impossible to overemphasize the importance of slow-cooking the shanks to achieve this effect, checking them every 15 to 20 minutes to be sure they are simmering ever so slightly. The slower, the better. If the heat is too high, the meat will contract and dry out.
You will find the recipe for creamy white beans to be a highly versatile addition to your repertoire. The beans are softened in their cream mixture, creating a combination of flavor and texture that complements a wide variety of dishes. They work just as well in this winter entrée as they do with, say, grilled shrimp in the summertime. If you've ever wondered what to do with those big, wax-covered yellow turnips or rutabagas found in many markets, here is one answer.


  • The beans must soak in water overnight. Everything but the
  • puree may be prepared well in advance, or timed to be cooked while the
  • shanks are braising, which takes several hours.
  • For the Lamb:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, or as needed
  • 6 (1-pound) lamb shanks, trimmed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large head garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups brown chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 3 (4-inch-long) strips of lemon zest, removed from the lemon with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Creamy White Beans
  • Yellow Turnip Puree
  • Assembly:
  • Coarse and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 6 sprigs thyme for garnish

Companion recipe: Creamy White Beans Yellow Turnip Puree


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a large, flameproof casserole or

roasting pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the

lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In batches, without crowding, cook the

lamb shanks, turning occasionally, until nicely browned on all sides, about

8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Reduce the heat to medium and

add the onion, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the

vegetables brown deeply, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a

boil. Cook until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Return the

shanks to the casserole. Add the stock, water, thyme, lemon zest, and

peppercorns and bring to a boil. Tightly cover the casserole.

Bake until the lamb shanks are very tender, about 1 3/4 hours. Turn the

shanks occasionally and check that they are not cooking too fast--the

braising liquid should be barely simmering. Lower the oven temperature, if

necessary. Continue cooking for approximately 45 minutes longer until, when

tested with a fork, the meat easily separates from the bone.

Transfer the lamb shanks to a large platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Spoon off the fat on the surface of the braising liquid, and

place the casserole over high heat. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and

cook until richly flavored and reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Place a lamb shank in the center of each of 6 warmed dinner plates. Holding

the meaty end with one hand, bring up the shank bone into a vertical

position with the other hand, pressing down so the meat releases from the

bone at the meaty end to form a base for the shank to stand in. Place a

mound of turnips at the ten o'clock position, and a spoonful of beans at the

two o'clock position. Spoon the sauce over and around the lamb shank and

garnish with a sprig of thyme. Or, leave the lamb shanks on the platter and

garnish with the thyme. Place the turnip puree and beans in individual

serving bowls, and pour the sauce into a warmed sauceboat.

Creamy polenta may be substituted for the turnips to provide a

very different counterpoint to the lamb and beans. Also, peas and pearl

onions make an effective springtime alternative to the white beans.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Doubleday. All rights reserved.

RecID 3214

nutrition information per serving

1017 calories; 51g total fat; 356mg cholesterol; 378mg sodium; 31g carbohydrates; 8g fiber; 104g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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