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November 20, 2023

Red Wine-braised American Lamb Shanks with Butternut Squash and Parsnip Puree


Recipe Provided By
American Lamb Board
Prep Time

15 min

Cook Time

3 hrs

Total Time

3 hrs 15 min


4 to 6

Red Wine-braised American Lamb Shanks with Butternut Squash and Parsnip Puree


American Lamb:

  • 4 American Lamb Shanks, 1 to 1-1/2 pounds each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 small bulbs fennel, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups red wine
  • 4 cups beef or chicken stock 

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Puree:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 1-1/2 pounds
  • 2 small parsnips, about 8 ounces
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 large leek, thoroughly washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (without lavender)
  • Salt, to taste


For the American Lamb: Liberally season the shanks with salt and pepper; set aside. In a large bowl, add onions, fennel, garlic and rosemary; toss to combine. Lay shanks on top of marinade, nestling each one into the vegetables until partially submerged. Pack marinade over and around shanks; refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours. 

Remove shanks from marinade; set aside. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan with a lid, melt butter over medium heat. When butter is foamy, add lamb shanks; brown well on all sides, about 12 minutes total, in batches if necessary. Remove shanks to a plate.

Increase heat to medium-high; add marinade vegetables, cooking and stirring occasionally until slightly softened. Add wine; increase heat. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits, until the wine has reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a simmer; add lamb shanks back to the pan. The liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the shanks. Put lid on the pan and place in oven. Cook at 350°F until lamb is fork tender and falling off the bones, 2 to 2-1/2 hours. 

For the Butternut Squash and Parsnip Puree: Peel the squash, cut in half and remove seeds. Cut halves into 1-inch chunks; set aside. Peel and slice parsnips into 1-inch coins; add to squash. In a large saucepan with a lid, warm the butter and oil over medium heat. When butter begins to get foamy, add garlic and leek. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leek softens slightly and become translucent, about 7 minutes. Add wine, water, squash, parsnips, paprika, herbes de Provence and salt; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat; allow contents to cool slightly. In a food processor, puree vegetables in batches to achieve a smooth and silky consistency. Season to taste with salt and serve warm with the braised lamb shanks.

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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