American Lamb Shank in Mole Sauce, Arroz, Pea Tendrils, Carrots



American Lamb Shank in Mole Sauce



  • 12 American Lamb shanks
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 4 carrots, large dice
  • 3 celery stalks, large dice
  • 1 medium white onion, large dice
  • 1 750-ml bottle merlot
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 96 to 144 ounces lamb or beef stock
  • 4 to 6 thyme sprigs
  • 4 to 6 bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped 

Mole Sauce:

  • 2 ounces tallow, divided
  • 32 ounces dried negro chilies
  • 9 ounces dried ancho chilies
  • 9 ounces dried pasilla chilies
  • 1 cup almonds, unskinned and untoasted
  • 6 to 8 ounces slivered garlic
  • 8 ounces raisins
  • 8 ounces golden raisins
  • 8 ounces white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 8 ounces Mexican chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 bolillo bread, toasted and pulled into small strips
  • 4 to 6 ounces piloncillo
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground canela (or ground cinnamon)
  • 5 ground cloves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 to 16 ounces lamb or beef stock
  • Prepared arroz


  • Toasted sesame seeds, crème fraiche, pea tendrils, Parisian carrots, watermelon radish 


Season lamb shanks with salt and ground pepper. In a large rondeau or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb shanks; brown on all sides. Set the lamb shanks to the side. Add carrots, celery and onion to pot; cook until well browned, about 10 minutes. Deglaze with merlot; cook until liquid is reduced  by one half. Reduce heat to medium; stir in tomato paste. Add shanks back to pot; pour in lamb or beef stock to cover. Add thyme, bay leaves and parsley. Cover and cook at 350°F for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until shanks are thoroughly cooked. Remove shanks from liquid; gently remove meat from bones. 

For Mole Sauce: Remove stems and seeds from dried chiles. Place chilies on sheet tray and toast in the oven. If preferred, you may toast with a hand-held torch or in a sauté pan. Remove chilies; allow to cool.  In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon tallow. Tear the chiles and add to pot. Fry chilies until lightly toasted, adding additional tallow as needed. (Be careful to not overcook as a dark toast will make mole bitter). Remove chilies and place in a sauce pot; submerge in warm water and simmer for 20 minutes. Add almonds to pan. In the residual oil, toast the almonds. Add garlic; toast. Add in the raisins and golden raisins; cook until raisins are puffed and slightly browned. Remove and reserve. Transfer the rehydrated chiles to a blender or food processor; process. Add 1/2 cup of reserved liquid at a time; puree. Continue to add liquid and puree until desired texture. Remove and reserve. Add 1 cup of the reserve liquid to blender. Add sesame seeds, chocolate, bread, piloncillo, anise, canela, cloves, salt and pepper; blend to a smooth puree. Remove and reserve. Add reserved components to the pot; add 8 ounces of stock, stirring constantly so the paste does not burn. Add additional stock as needed; season to taste. Remove sauce from heat and pass through a tammy or chinos. 

To serve: Place a scoop of arroz on each plate; add some of the braised lamb on the side with the desired amount of mole sauce. Finish with sesame seeds, a small dollop of crème fraiche and pea tendril, carrots and watermelon radish.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.

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