Lamb Shanks with Melted Grapes and Grape Gremolata

October  8, 2012
5 Ratings
  • Serves 2 very hungry people and you will probably have leftovers
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • 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. Lamb Shanks With Melted Grapes
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  1. Grape Gremolata
  2. 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!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Franca
  • Mark,Sacchetti
  • QueenSashy
  • EmilyC
  • gingerroot

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

18 Reviews

Franca October 30, 2021
I used a leg of lamb, and it is in the oven now. If it tastes anything like it smells....
aargersi October 31, 2021
How did it come out?
Mark,Sacchetti April 15, 2014
What would you recommend to use in place of the wine?
aargersi April 15, 2014
Hey Mark - you could use more veggie stock, or beef or mushroom stock, and maybe add just a small splash of red wine vinegar
QueenSashy October 26, 2012
This goes straight to my list of must try dishes!
EmilyC October 12, 2012
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.
aargersi October 12, 2012
I can tell you from first hand experience that a good red (say, oh, a nice barolo) is JUST the thing with this!!!
gingerroot October 11, 2012
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!).
aargersi October 11, 2012
Thanks! I ate the last little bit last night and was sorry to see it go. Need to get more grapes and shanks soon!!!!
Beautiful, M. October 9, 2012
Lovely recipe! The flavors remind me of Persian lamb dishes with pomegranate syrup.
inpatskitchen October 8, 2012
Love lamb shanks ( and any lamb for that matter)! This looks incredibly delicious!
Bevi October 8, 2012
Yum - another great lamb dish from Abby!
ashleychasesdinner October 8, 2012
I agree with fiveandspice! A glass of wine and a book work for me!
fiveandspice October 8, 2012
Oh wow, this looks awesome! Perfect for the wintery weather we have rolling in here!
aargersi October 8, 2012
Absolutely - perfect winter low and slow cooking (while you lounge around with, say, a glass of wine and a book)
fiveandspice October 8, 2012
Oh yes, just for example. :)
hardlikearmour October 8, 2012
Whoa! This looks incredibly rich and delicious. Love the bright color and flavor from the grape gremolata.
aargersi October 8, 2012
I have leftovers for lunch and I am more excited than is probably normal :-)