Fennel Tarragon Lamb Shanks

I love lamb. I ate lamb quite a lot growing up in England. We have a lot of lambs frolicking around the British Isles, especially in Wales, where it’s said there are more sheep than people. So while my love of lamb runs deep, when I came to live in America 19 years ago I discovered that lamb was really hard to find and when you did find it you also had to go and find a bank loan to be able to purchase it.

Then, fast-forward 6 or so years and lamb started popping up here and there. Nowadays I think I can get lamb in practically every grocery store I wander into. Not only is it much more readily available, but the price – depending on the cut – can be less than your grass-fed beef, your steaks, bison, and quite a lot of seafood. So lamb is now well and truly on the menu! Or, at least, it should be. Especially if you are eating low-carb or keto. Lamb is a fatty meat, so you can typically get keto ratios by just eating the onboard fat that comes with your lamby goodness.

And, had I not been usurped by one Yogi Parker – our giant, resident Keto Trucker – this would have been the first time lamb made an appearance on the blog. But Yogi gave us roast lamb (cooked (!) in (!) a (!) truck (!)) a little while back, so I shall concede to second place with this Lamb Shank recipe.

If you’re new to lamb, you should totally make this. And if you love lamb, you should totally make this. If only for the way your house will smell for hours during and afterwards. And please don’t be put of by the total time it takes. The prep part is almost nothing. All the effort and magic happens while it is languishing in the oven.

You can even prep it the night before or the morning of, and then just pop it in the oven when you get home. Or if that makes dinner too late for you, save it for the weekend when you can toss it in the oven earlier in the day. But please make it. It combines 3 of my favorite things: lamb, fennel, and tarragon, and they compliment each other beautifully in this simple and easy dish. If you hve only had fennel raw and don’t love the aniseed flavor, cooked fennel has a very different, gentle flavor so I urge you to try it cooked before you dismiss it out of hand.

I’d serve this with cauliflower rice, or Miracle rice, and let all those delicious juices make you forget that grains are even a thing.

 

Fennel Tarragon Lamb Shanks

Author: Carrie Brown | Prep time:  15 mins   |   Cook time:  2 hours 30 mins  |   Total time: 2 hours 45 mins  |  Serves: 4 – 6

What You Need

  • 1 TBSP avocado oil or coconut oil
  • 4lb / 1.8kg lamb shanks (4 – 8 shanks)
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 oz / 280g fennel bulb, sliced
  • 6 oz / 170g onion, chopped (video!)
  • Sea salt (For the best salt and a 15% discount use code: carriebrown)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 cup  / 8 fl oz. dry white wine
  • 1 ¾ cups  / 14 fl oz. chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. konjac flour / glucomannan powder
  • 1 oz / 30g butter
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh tarragon

 

What You Do

  1. In a large pan heat the oil and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. You may have to do this in batches.  As you brown the lamb, remove it to a plate.
  2. Add the crushed garlic, sliced fennel, and chopped onion to the pot and cook over a medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
  4. Add the wine and stock, stir well and bring to a boil.
  5. Carefully add the lamb shanks to the pot, cover and cook at 350ºF until the shanks are tender, about 2½ hours.
  6. Carefully remove the lamb from the pot (it will be slippery and delicate!) and place it on a plate.
  7. Place the pot over a low heat and gently sprinkle the konjac flour over the surface of the liquid with one hand while whisking rapidly with the other to quickly and completely incorporate it.
  8. Stir until the sauce has thickened – 2 minutes or so – and then add the butter and finely chopped tarragon and whisk until the butter is melted and mixed in.
  9. Return the lamb shanks to the pan and allow to sit in the sauce for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Top Recipe Tips

  • I really recommend using fresh tarragon, but if you cannot get it or do not grow it, use 1/3 rd TBSP dried tarragon instead and add it to the pot before you cover the pot and place it in the oven.
  • If you have very small shanks you will want to check the lamb after 2 hours.
  • Check out the video I made of how to effectively chop an onion.
  • Stick with white or yellow onions for the lowest carbs.
  • If you are not a wine drinker you can use white cooking wine which you can buy at the grocery store. Or a bottle of Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck for the cheap wine win. But don’t skip the wine. The flavor will be quite different if you do.

 

Helpful Cooking and Recipe Links

 

Podcast Episodes and You Tube Videos

 

Substitutions

  • Don’t. Just buy the correct ingredients and you, too, shall have a fabulous outcome!
  • If you try and use guar gum or xanthan gum instead of konjac flour / glucomannan powder you will likely have a slimy sauce and you will be sad. It also won’t reheat well. Trust me. Get yourself some konjac flour / glucomannan powder and keep it in your pantry as a keto / low carb cooking staple.

 

 

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