Guinness Lamb Shanks

This weekend I wanted to make something to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Since I had lamb shanks in the freezer, I decided on Guinness Lamb Shanks. That would make this year unique! 

Guinness Lamb Shank on Table

Guinness Lamb Shank on Table

In college I spent a semester in Ireland but only ate lamb once or twice. Still I knew I loved it and when I got my first freezer (at age 28), buying an annual lamb was top on my list. 

Guinness Lamb Shank, Served

Guinness Lamb Shank, Served

Since my college days, the health benefits of going organic and grass-fed have became better known, so now I make sure to get a naturally raised lamb–right from the farmer. This requires a pre-Thanksgiving pilgrimage about an hour north to pick up my lamb, but it is totally worth it. And as a fringe benefit it’s near a nice outlet mall.  Early Christmas shopping plus some great food–how good is that! 

Lamb Shanks, Thawed

Lamb Shanks, Thawed

Recently, I realized I still had last year’s lamb shanks in the freezer–along with those from my current lamb. That would be perfect for trying out a new recipe, and up popped Guinness Lamb Shanks.  


Loaded with Rosemary

The dish, from Jamie Oliver, has a long cooking time (wouldn’t want to risk tough lamb shanks) but the prep work is quick and easy. This made it perfect for a weekend dinner. But I do have to warn you that the amazing smell of it cooking can drive you nearly mad. 

Lamb Shanks, Browning

Guinness Lamb Shanks, Browning

I translated the recipe to US measurements and made a few substitutions. Since it is spring I am working hard to use up my stored food and grocery store visits must be avoided at all costs! Fortunately, the recipe handled the changes beautifully. I also did the cooking in a single pan and finished it in the oven instead of stove top– which made it even easier.  (He also includes a mint sauce that I skipped.)

Guinness Lamb Shanks out of Oven

Guinness Lamb Shanks out of Oven

Per Jamie Oliver’s suggestion, I served lamb shanks with neeps and tatties– mashed potatoes  mixed with mashed rutabagas. This used up the last of both of these vegetables too. Such a good feeling!

Guinness Lamb Shanks on Platter

Guinness Lamb Shanks on Platter

My only regret is that it will take me two years to store up 4 local lamb shanks again. ‘Cause this recipe is definitely happening again. 

Guinness Lamb Shanks

Guinness Lamb Shanks are a delicious way to celebrate St Patrick's Day--or to take advantage of a delicious and healthful food.
Author: Inger
5 from 1 vote
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Irish
Servings 4
Calories 335 kcal


  • 3 onions peeled and chopped
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ground pepper
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 heaped Tbsp marmalade or jam or chutney
  • 1 heaped Tbsp tomato ketchup or 1 chopped roma tomato
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup Guinness or other dark ale a half bottle
  • 4 lamb shanks there is enough sauce to make 6 shanks
  • 6-8 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 quart organic chicken stock


  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven. Brown the lamb shanks – you can cook them in batches if needed--turning every few minutes. Once they are browned, add the rosemary leaves. Move them around in the pan to get crispy, but don't let them burn. Remove the shanks, rosemary and all but about 1-2 tablespoon of fat to a plate (I had no fat in the pan).
  • If there isn't enough fat left from browning the lamb shanks, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and stir over medium heat until the onions start to caramelize. Add the raisins, marmalade (or jam or chutney), ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, stock and beer. Stir well, then let simmer for a few minutes
  • Return the lamb shanks to the pan, reduce heat, cover and cook until very tender, about 2-3 hours.
  • When the lamb shanks are ready, carefully move them to a platter, making sure the meat stays intact, and keep warm. Remove any rosemary stems you can find, then blend sauce with a stick blender until (more or less) smooth. Continue cooking to thicken. There is enough sauce to top the lamb and have leftovers for potatoes or noodles.


Calories: 335kcal
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

10 thoughts on “Guinness Lamb Shanks

  1. Beth

    Your lamb sounds wonderful. I’d love to try it. And there’s nothing more satisfying than using up the ingredients you have on hand!

  2. Tammy

    Lamb has become one of my favorite meals – probably because I have it so rarely. I really enjoy it and I am married to a guinness guy so I will try this. Happy St. Pat’s

    1. Inger Post author

      It was truly rich and flavorful–so nice with a brand new recipe which can sometimes be risky!

  3. Louise

    I was hoping you were going to get to these lamb shanks this weekend, Inger. I know I might be going a bit crazy but I do believe I can smell those “babies” from here.

    I have such a time getting my hands on naturally raised lamb around here but this year I am going to make it my mission to make contacts for naturally raised meats in general. Wish me luck:)

    I’m loving this recipe, Inger. I think I would have skipped the mint sauce too. With all that flavor from the shanks quite frankly, who needs it, lol…

    Thanks for sharing, Inger…If I don’t “see” you before Tuesday, enjoy the day:)

    1. Inger Post author

      It’s a challenge to get natural lamb here too Louise. My farmers were changing over their herd this year, so their supply was especially low and I felt lucky to get one. Beef is generally much easier. Do the Amish near you do lamb?

      I laughed when you mentioned smelling it. My stepfather had an uncanny knack for popping over when I had fresh muffins. We all swore he could smell them across town!

      I am going to try to do one more St Patrick’s Day dish tomorrow if all goes well (Chocolate Mint Pot de Creme). If it appears in a post, it worked; otherwise perhaps one for the Worst of 2015 files 😉

      I hope to get “over” soon. Just got to get the taxes and health insurance paperwork wrapped up and reclaim my dining room!

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