Honey-Roasted Lamb Shanks

My husband, Bond, and I had the opportunity to travel to England last October. We had heard the rumors about English food being bland and boring, but found the country to be a culinary melting pot, with not only wonderful traditional English food, but an abundance of ethnic cuisines as well.

This amalgam of cuisines is not only apparent by the array of ethnic restaurants, but in the ethnic dishes gracing the menus of traditional English restaurants and pubs. From Indian, to Thai, to Moroccan, we enjoyed the variety that is not available to us in our home state of Georgia. One dish Bond especially enjoyed was a roasted lamb shank at a country pub. I’ve tried to recreate it in this week’s recipe for Honey-Roasted Lamb Shanks.

Roasting the shanks in foil pouches takes me back to my Girl Scout days. It’s a method suggested by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly in their book, The Complete Meat Cookbook, and the resulting lamb is tender and flavorful. Although the cooking time is long, once the packets are in the oven your work is done. Serve these luscious lamb shanks with couscous and steamed carrots, for a memorable meal for two.

  • 2 lamb shanks, about 1 1/2 pounds each
  • 2 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 2 large squares of heavy duty aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Pierce gashes in the meaty parts of the lamb shanks and insert the slivers of garlic. Combine seasonings, sprinkle them over the lamb shanks and press with your hands. 

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add shanks and brown on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove each lamb shank onto a piece of foil and drizzle each with 3 tablespoons of honey. Enclose tightly in foil. Place packets on a baking sheet and bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and carefully open packets. Serve shanks, spooning any juices from the foil packets over the top.

Makes 2 servings.