Shanks/Riblets - Alberta Lamb

Alberta Lamb Braised Shank with Red Wine Sauce

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Lamb and sauce:4-piece Alberta Lamb shank, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tbsp. cracked pepper, 5 cloves garlic (chopped), ½ yellow onion (finely diced), 1 tbsp. fresh oregano (chopped), 4 cups red wine, 8 cups brown sauce, 2 cups water, ¼ cup Kalamata olives with no pits, ¼ cup semi-dried cherry tomatoes

Potatoes:3 large red or Agria potatoes (peeled), 2 litres salted water, 1 ½ cups hot milk, ¼ cup fresh butter, white pepper

Garnish: 8 vine ripened Amoroso tomatoes, 8 baby bell peppers, 8 asparagus, 2 tbsp. olive oil


Lamb and sauce: In a braising pot, heat the olive oil and sear lamb shanks on all sides. Remove and set aside. In the same pot add garlic, onion and oregano. Sauté briefly to slightly caramelize the onion and garlic. Deglaze with the red wine. Add the brown sauce, stir together and bring to a simmer. Add the lamb shanks to the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cover. Braise for 3 hours or until lamb is tender and almost falling off the bone. Water can be added on occasion if the liquid reduces too much. When tender, remove the lamb from the sauce and place on a platter. Keep warm until serving. Add olives and dried tomatoes to the sauce, and reduce to a consistency that will coat the back of a spoon.
Potatoes: Boil the potatoes until thoroughly cooked and break easily with a fork. Drain water and mash potatoes with milk and butter, and season with salt and white pepper.
Garnish: In a sauté pan, heat the oil and sear the peppers, tomato and asparagus.

Serve assembled individually on plates or on a larger platter for sharing. For individual servings, place mashed potato in centre of plate, and top with a shank. Spoon sauce over the lamb, leaving enough to cover the plate. Garnish with vegetables.

Photo and recipe credit: David Flegel

Alberta Lamb Shanks Braised in Tomato and Garlic Ragout

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4 Alberta Lamb shanks

salt and pepper

12 cloves of whole peeled garlic

1 stalk celery - diced

1 carrot – peeled and diced

¼ onion - diced

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 can (369 ml) diced plum tomatoes

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup rich beef stock

salt and pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano and thyme leaves


  1. Trim excess fat from the shanks and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until evenly browned at 350.
  2. Sauté garlic, celery, carrot and onion with the olive oil in a sauce pan. Deglaze the pan with red wine, add the can of tomatoes and beef broth. Season with salt and pepper and add dried herbs. Allow to simmer gently until thickened.
  3. Place shanks in oven proof dish, pour tomato sauce over shanks and cover with foil. Place in 350 oven and braise until tender, approximately 2 hours.
  4. Serve over polenta or creamy mashed potatoes.

Recipe courtesy Chef Darren Nixon

Braised Alberta Lamb Shanks

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6 Alberta Lamb shanks

Lamb spice mix (see below)

Salt & ground black pepper

1 yellow onion, diced

8 cloves garlic

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 large piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

500ml each dry red wine and chicken stock

Lamb spice mix:

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 tablespoon each cardamom pods, coriander and chilli powder

1 teaspoon each chilli flakes and cinnamon


  1. Trim lamb shanks if necessary. Season with spice mixture and salt and pepper. Arrange in a roasting pan and place in a 400˚ oven for 20-25 minutes. Add sliced ginger, onion and whole garlic cloves, allow to roast for an additional 10 minutes.
  2. Deglaze the pan by pouring the red wine over the shanks and stirring the bottom of the pan to release any of the caramelisation that has occurred. Add tomato paste and chicken stock. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and return to a 350˚ oven for two hours.
  3. Remove shanks from braising liquid and allow to cool. Strain the braising liquid, refrigerate and skim any fat from the surface.
  4. To serve, place shanks and braising liquid in a shallow roasting pan, cover and reheat at 350˚ until heated through. Adjust sauce with salt and pepper. Serve each shank over buttermilk mashed potatoes with sauce.

Recipe courtesy Chef Darren Nixon

Easy Alberta Lamb Cacciatore

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3 servings


1 ½ cups cubed Alberta lamb 

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

14 oz cans stewed tomatoes

5 ½ oz can tomato paste

1 ½ tsp. dried basil

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 small zucchini

sliced hot cooked pasta


  1. Brown lamb in oil in medium skillet, remove from pan.
  2. Drain off fat, stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, return lamb to pan.
  4. Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes.
  5. Serve over pasta.

Recipe courtesy of Lorna Wall, Camp Creek, Alberta

Kashmiri-Style Lamb

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4 tbsp vegetable oil

.25 tsp asafoetida

900g/2lb cubed lean lamb

1 piece of 5cm/2" long crushed fresh ginger

2 crushed garlic cloves

4 tbsp Rogan Josh masala paste

1 tsp chilli powder or 2 tsp sweet paprika

8-10 strands saffron (optional)

plus more for garnishing

salt to taste

about 150ml/.25 pint/ 2/3 cup natural (plain) beaten yogurt


  1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the asafoetida and lamb, stirring well to seal the meat. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients except the yogurt and almonds and mix well.
  3. If the meat is too dry, add a very small quantity of boiling water. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool a little. Add the yogurt, 1 tbsp at a time, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. Return to a low heat and cook uncovered until thick.
  5. Garnish with a spoonful of yogurt and a few saffron strands.

This curry originated in Kashmir and gets its name, Rogan Josh, from the chillies originally used in the dish. The chilli powder may be reduced for a milder flavour, just add the paprika and 2 tsp tomato puree (paste) to retain the colour.

Sweet & Sour Riblets

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1 ½ lbs. Alberta Lamb riblet

2 tbsp. cooking oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup vinegar

1 tsp. ginger


  1. Brown riblets in oil and transfer to ovenproof casserole. Cover and bake at 325F for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain off fat. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over ribs.
  3. Continue to cook, covered, for another 30 minutes.
  4. Thicken juice with cornstarch if desired.

Alberta Lamb
Agriculture Centre
97 East Lake Ramp NE
Airdrie, AB, T4A 0C3

(403) 948-1522