Lamb Shanks with Melted Grapes and Grape Gremolata

By • October 8, 2012 • 17 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a perfect slow cooking, take your time, cool Sunday afternoon dish. Rich lamb is complemented by a bright gremolata. We ate it with a side of lentils, but it would also be great over polenta or maybe egg noodles as well.aargersi

Food52 Review: If you find yourself searching for the perfect Sunday dinner, look no further. This is A-mazing -- that is, amazingly elegant, delicious and complex. I used a leg of lamb to make this and it still turned out wonderfully. The sweet grapes really mellow out into the sauce and add a nice subtle tang to complement the onions. The meat falls off the bone after cooking in the oven for a few hours, and the wonderful gremolata adds complexity to this rich dish -- a touch of brightness and zing that you might not expect! And don't even get me started on how this made the house smell. Heaven.stephanieRD

Serves 2 very hungry people and you will probably have leftovers

Lamb Shanks With Melted Grapes

  • 2 hind lamb shanks (the bigger ones - you could use fore shanks but where's the fun in that?)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups halved seedless black grapes
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pitted cured black olives
  • 2 cups quartered and thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic, roughly chopped (2 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 3-4 fresh bay leaves
  1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Heat a dutch oven to medium, and add the oil. Generously season the lamb all over with salt and pepper. Brown the shanks on every side -- you want nice brown shanks without and burning, this is why the heat stays at medium. Take your time and really get them gorgeously brown. When they are ready, remove them to a plate.
  2. Add the onions to the pot and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook the onions for a few minutes until they soften and just start to brown. Add the grapes and garlic, and cook for a few minutes more until they are soft. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, again scraping and bit up from the bottom of the pan. Now put the lamb shanks back in along with any juices. Cover and put the pot in the oven.
  3. Cook the shanks for an hour and a half, then turn them over so the exposed part is now submerged in that grape-y onion-y goodness. Back into the oven for at least another hour -- longer is not a bad thing though. The shanks will be incredibly tender and depending how long you cook them, they may fall right off the bone. I cooked for a total of two and a half hours.
  4. Remove the shanks to a plate and simmer the sauce uncovered for just a few more minutes to thicken. Serve each shank with a generous amount of melted grapes and sauce, and top with gremolata. Serve additional gremolata alongside.

Grape Gremolata

  • 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (1 clove)
  • 1/2 cup red grapes
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Put all of the ingredients in a processor and pulse until it is roughly chopped -- keep some texture rather than going for a smooth paste. Alternately, you can chop it all by hand!
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Comments (17) Questions (0)


about 1 year ago Mark,Sacchetti

What would you recommend to use in place of the wine?


about 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hey Mark - you could use more veggie stock, or beef or mushroom stock, and maybe add just a small splash of red wine vinegar


over 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

This goes straight to my list of must try dishes!


over 2 years ago EmilyC

I've been meaning to comment on this ever since you posted it. This looks and sounds supremely awesome. I can only imagine how good this would taste with a rich red wine.


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I can tell you from first hand experience that a good red (say, oh, a nice barolo) is JUST the thing with this!!!


over 2 years ago gingerroot

Love everything about this, A! I can almost taste the sweet-salty melting grape-olive-onion-y deliciousness contrasted with the bright sweet gremolata (grape gremolata? genius!).


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks! I ate the last little bit last night and was sorry to see it go. Need to get more grapes and shanks soon!!!!


over 2 years ago Beautiful, Memorable Food

Lovely recipe! The flavors remind me of Persian lamb dishes with pomegranate syrup.


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Love lamb shanks ( and any lamb for that matter)! This looks incredibly delicious!


over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

It's been years since I've made lamb shanks and this lovely recipe reminds me how much I love them. I love the combination of the melted grapes with the lamb and then the gremolata.


over 2 years ago Bevi

Yum - another great lamb dish from Abby!


over 2 years ago ashleychasesdinner

I agree with fiveandspice! A glass of wine and a book work for me!


over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh wow, this looks awesome! Perfect for the wintery weather we have rolling in here!


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Absolutely - perfect winter low and slow cooking (while you lounge around with, say, a glass of wine and a book)


over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh yes, just for example. :)


over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Whoa! This looks incredibly rich and delicious. Love the bright color and flavor from the grape gremolata.


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I have leftovers for lunch and I am more excited than is probably normal :-)