Back by popular demand! Because you guys kept asking for it, here is a reprint of my favorite St. Patrick’s day dinner!. Change it up a bit this year, there’s NO NEED to make everyone suffer through the same old corned beef and cabbage.

The Irish are known for many more things than corned beef and cabbage. (Regular readers will remember my blog on how this meal is not even authentic to the Emerald Isle, rather an American version of an inexpensive meal adopted by Irish immigrants living in predominantly poorer Jewish neighborhoods in New York City’s lower East Side who were looking for a substitute to their ‘boiling bacon’.) Beef was available to the Well-To-Do back in the old country. Typical Irish food centered on potatoes, fish, turnips, assorted vegetables that could be grown on small plots of land and stored and, or course baked goods.,

Lamb is huge over in Ireland. They make pies, stew, roast leg of lamb and it is all wonderful. If you think it is merely lamb chops and mint jelly you’ve missed the boat and justified why you think you don’t like lamb. It is no harder to cook than beef. Do not overcook it – another reason people shy away from lamb – they have incinerated it and say it’s dry and gamey. Pair it with Rosemary and garlic. Sear it quickly on the grill like a cross between a steak and roast or braise it and let the liquid bath slowly cook it to tender and tasty delightfulness. You will have a new favorite meat.

So this year for St. Patrick’s Day, lay off the corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew and make braised lamb shanks. They will be succulent and redolent with flavor. It only requires takes a couple of steps, two 1/2 hours and one pot.

You may need to adjust the amount of liquids used as you go. It largely depends on how many lamb shanks you need to feed everyone. Add more carrots if you are using more than 2 shanks. Amounts below are merely a guideline, which is why you can use either crushed tomatoes, which are much more watery, or tomato paste, or a combination of both. You can cook the stock down to reduce it to a gravy at the end of the process. It’s braising the meat that renders all the flavor. Either way, making gravy, or using the tomato based sauce, when you’ve finished you have what only looks like a stew. This meal is tantalizing in how good it is!


  • 2-4 Lamb Shanks (depending on how many you will feed)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • 3-6 Large Carrots, cut bite sized
  • 2 Stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tsp. Thyme (chopped)
  • 5 Tsp. Rosemary (chopped)
  • 12 oz. Stout or Ale (Red Wine is good too, although it digresses from the Gaelic purity, but I’ve been told the Irish love wine, so go with it.)
  • 12 oz. Beef or Chicken Stock (Veal Stock is better, but harder to find)
  • Optional (it’s an Either or Combination) :
    • 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste or 1 Can Crushed Tomatoes OR
    • 1 Box of Frozen Peas
    • 1 Zucchini, diced into coins


  1. While heating the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, Salt and Pepper the lamb shanks. Then sear the meat in the hot pot. Work in batches if you have to, overcrowding the pot will steam the meat and that won’t be good. Remove the shanks to a plate once the sides are all nice and browned.
  2. Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté till translucent. Then add you’re liquid. Turn up the heat a little and ‘deglaze’ the bottom of your pot with the liquid and scrape with a wooden spatula. Add in any of the optional vegetables and the seasonings. Return the Lamb Shanks to the pot. Reduce heat to a good simmer and cover. Periodically stir the pot, flipping the shanks to ensure the meat is covered with liquid. Cook for 2 – 3 hours, until the meat is fork tender and falling off the bones.
  3. If you prefer gravy, remove the meat and veggies and cover them. Make a slurry with a little hot water in a cup and add 2 tablespoons of corn starch which you only need to briskly stir until the lumps are gone. Bring the sauce to a boil, add the slurry to the pot, stir, and heat until thickened.
  4. Remove meat from the bones (if necessary). Plate and spoon the sauce over the shanks and vegetables and serve.