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Aunt Mildred's Lamb Shanks

by Billie Jean Siddoway 19 Oct 2023 0 Comments

Denton, Bill, and Forrest managed the Siddoway family ranch in its third generation. Denton served in the Pacific Theater in World War II. While in service, he met and married Mildred Vasilich, a Navy Nurse Corps member from Pennsylvania. They settled in Teton where they farmed and helped run the sheep ranch. Mildred's culinary skills were renowned, especially her braised lamb shanks, a favorite at the bunkhouse.


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbs neutral oil
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
  • Pat the lamb shanks dry with paper towels. 
  • Season each shank with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
  • In a Dutch oven or heavy high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Brown the shanks on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Add butter and onions, cooking until translucent. Add water or broth as needed to prevent onions from browning.
  • Add carrots and celery, and cook for five minutes more. 
  • Add the garlic and tomato paste. Stir continuously for another minute.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the pan.
  • Return the shanks to the pan. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and parsley.
  • Cover the pan with a lid or tight foil and transfer to the oven. Cook until shanks are fork-tender, about 2 hours. Midway, turn the shanks and baste them.
  • After cooking, transfer the shanks to a serving platter and tent with foil.
  • Strain the braising liquid. Return it to the pot and heat over medium.
  • Whisk 3 Tbs flour and ½ cup cold water to form a slurry. Gradually whisk into the braising liquid, bring to a boil, and continue cooking until thickened. (Note: If you prefer not to use flour to thicken, create a pan sauce by boiling the braising liquid until it is reduced by half or reaches desired consistency.)

    Serving Suggestions:

    Roasted root vegetables, stewed tomatoes, mashed potatoes, couscous, mushroom risotto.


    • Cindy Siddoway suggests adding a can of diced tomatoes when adding the broth.
    • Billie Siddoway says to add a few juniper berries and a spring of rosemary with the herbs. Use equal parts chicken broth and a medium red wine, such as Syrah or Pinot Noir. Cook at 325°F for up to three hours. For the sauce, omit the flour slurry and boil the strained braising liquid on high heat with a quarter cup of ruby port until it is reduced to about a third of the original volume.
    • Emma Siddoway recommends speeding things up. Season and brown the shanks in the Instant Pot on the Sauté high heat setting. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, chicken broth, and herbs. Seal and set to High Pressure for 60 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare mashed potatoes on the stovetop. Serve shanks, braising liquid, and veggies over mashed potatoes.
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