I think osso buco—Italian for “bone with a hole”—made with lamb shanks is so much tastier than the traditional version, made with veal shanks. You may find shanks that are crosscut as in the traditional veal version (ask your butcher), but whole shanks work, too. Check the meat after two hours; you don’t want the lamb to fall completely off the bone but to pull away easily. Serve with a potato side dish or wild mushroom risotto. Osso buco is great for entertaining. You can cook it completely, then rewarm when you’re ready to serve.

4 lamb shanks, approximately 10 ounces each

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

½ cup flour

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 cup mushrooms, quartered

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their liquid

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup dry red wine like merlot or cabernet

1–2 bay leaves

1 cup New Mexico green chile (mild or hot), roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped

Sprigs of parsley      

Serves 4


  1. Mix together 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper with the flour, and dust the shanks on all sides. Place olive oil in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or roasting pan and brown shanks on all sides over medium heat. Remove shanks from Dutch oven or pan and set aside.
  2. Turn heat up to medium high and add garlic, onions, and mushrooms to Dutch oven or pan. Sauté until onions start to brown.
  3. Add thyme, tomatoes, stock, and wine to Dutch oven or pan. Allow liquid to come to a boil. Stir in remaining salt and pepper and bay leaves and green chile. Nestle the shanks into the sauce; they may not be completely covered with liquid, but that’s fine.
  4. Cover Dutch oven or pan, place in preheated 400° oven, and cook for approximately 2½ hours. The dish is done when shanks are very tender and almost falling off the bone. Serve in a bowl with “gravy” ladled over it, topped with parsley.