Orange and Maple Braised Lamb Shanks with Fresh Mint Sauce

Lamb shanks have long been one of our favorite dinners....my mother often made them just with salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven. Not quite as tender as braising them, but something I still do once in a while when I don't have time to spare or don't want to fuss. There's a more gamey flavor roasted like this; lamb naturally has a slight gamey flavor anyway and shanks have an even stronger taste than a leg or loin chop. Some people really don't like lamb at all just for that reason, but braising them makes all the difference. My favorite recipe is an old Gourmet one that uses red wine, which I posted a while back. Shanks need a long, slow cook in a braising liquid with a soft, moist ingredient like beans or veggies.

When I received my recent issue of Donna Hay magazine, there was an orange and maple braised lamb shank recipe; the photo had my mouth watering and I made them recently. The recipe calls for "frenching" the shanks and I asked a butcher to do it for me as his knives are way sharper than mine. He'd never done it before and while they didn't turn out perfectly, he did a pretty good job. (There are uTube vids that show you how to do it if you want to take the chance of slicing yourself.) 

As far as the malt vinegar ingredient is concerned, it's not something I have in my pantry, but was surprised to find it in my local supermarket. As we know, there are many kinds of vinegars, but I'd never used this one, so looked it up. Malt vinegar is a dark brown vinegar, a favorite in Britain (makes sense as Donna Hay is an Australian magazine), is 
reminiscent of deep-brown ale. Its production begins with the germination, or sprouting, of barley kernels. Germination enables enzymes to break down starch. Sugar is formed, and the resulting product is brewed into an alcohol-containing malt beverage or ale. After bacteria convert the ale to vinegar, the vinegar is aged. As its name implies, malt vinegar has a distinctive malt flavor. We learn something every day!

We really liked these shanks; they're slightly sweeter than the red wine recipe, obviously, as maple syrup and brown sugar are two of the ingredients, but the malt vinegar stops them from being too overpowering. A lovely fall supper. The mint sauce is a killer recipe....thick, glossy, tart and minty. 

Orange and Maple Braised Lamb Shanks with Fresh Mint Sauce

Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 76

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 lamb shanks, trimmed and frenched
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
8 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup malt vinegar
peel of one orange
1/2 cup orange juice
4 rosemary sprigs

For the mint sauce:
3/4 cup malt vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups mint leaves, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in large frying pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the shanks and brown on all sides. Place in a deep sided roasting pan and set aside.
In a saucepan, add the stock, garlic, maple syrup, peel, juice and rosemary. Bring to a boil and pour over the shanks. Cover with foil and roast the shanks for 2 1/2 hours, turning once.
Increase oven temp to 425.
Remove the foil and roast the shanks, turning every 15 minutes for another 45 to 50 minutes or until they are sticky and glossy.
While the shanks are cooking, make the mint sauce.
Place the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan, stir until combined. bring to a boil and cook for 5-6 minutes or until just thickened. Remove from heat, allow to cool and add the fresh mint, stirring to combine.
Place the lamb shanks on a serving plate. Serve lamb with pan juices and mint sauce.

 9/11  Never Forget


  1. Delicious! Lamb shanks are so tasty.



  2. Lamb shanks are loved by my family and this recipe looks great.

  3. We love lamb shanks too Barbara. Your butcher did a great job of frenching them. I'm a summer girl and am not ready for fall, but this morning your recipe has put me in the mood for comfort food.

  4. Malt vinegar is an essential with fish and chips! I am very surprised your butcher had never Frenched lamb shanks - but then, lamb doesn't seem nearly as popular in the US as it is in the UK and Australia.

  5. HI Barbara!
    Oh yes, I am a huge fan of lamb shanks actually one of my favorite ways to enjoy lamb. The braising really is the key. I too am surprised that the butcher didn't know how to "French" them. I think the art of butchering is falling to the wayside. Such a shame...

    Your shanks look delicious and I love that you took the time to check out the malt. I wonder if malt beer would make a good substitute for those of us that can't find malt vinegar. (it's probably there but I've never seen it:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Barbara...the only thing better than smelling this post would be sitting down to enjoy!!! Soooooo Pinning!!!

  6. Comfort foods are coming no matter how hard I try to hold on to summer;-)

  7. I wish I ate lamb because this looks so DELICIOUS!

  8. Your lamb sounds delicious. I'm embarrassed at how many kinds of vinegar I have in my cupboard - seven, and none of them are malt!

  9. The Brits love their malt vinegar on fish and chips! The lamb looks scrumptious.

  10. What a beautiful looking dinner Barbara! And I just happen to have malt vinegar in the pantry.... can't remember why tho. I've not used it in awhile. Pinning this one to try soon. Sound so delicious.

  11. I love the look of those Frenched lamb shanks! And, the mint sauce with malt vinegar sounds so good. This is a great dish for a dinner party.

  12. I like lamb shanks but never make it at home. These look great. And I love malt vinegar (actually all kinds of vinegar). Malt vinegar is good on fries too, especially with fish and chips!

  13. I don't think I've ever had a lamb shank but your beautiful photo and this recipe certainly makes me want to run the meat market to find some. They look luscious, Barbara.

  14. I made lamb shanks some time ago...I feel inspired again. Thanks, looking delicious!

  15. I never realised you could have a shank with something as refreshing as orange and mint! What a delicious gourmet meal :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  16. i've always heard that lamb and mint are a great pair, but i REALLY like the sound of some maple in the mix!!

  17. As much as I love mint and lamb together it does get borrrrring. So gold stars on your chart for kicking this up

  18. wow! i love your recipe! great job! Btw. I really like your site! I'm going to visit your blog very often!

  19. love lamb shanks, love Donna Hay and I will never forget!



  20. Another keeper of a recipe. In my mind, there's no such thing as too many great lamb recipes.

    I felt badly for not blogging on the 11th... lots of thoughts, no time!



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