Chefs slow cook lamb shank by braising the meat, seasoning it, cooking it in a sauce or stock liquid, and covering the cooking dish while it is in the oven. The primary concern when cooking lamb shank is to ensure that the meat comes out tender and juicy. Braising the meat prior to cooking helps to lock in moisture. Covering the dish during cooking prevents more moisture from being lost through evaporation. Cooking the meat in a stock or sauce keeps more moisture in the overall cooking process.
Seasoning the meat is an important step when chefs slow cook lamb shank. This brings out the flavor of the meat and ensures that the resulting dish is not bland. Most recipes require the chef to mix salt and pepper in with flour and coat the meat in the mixture before cooking. The flour soaks up any moisture trying to escape from the meat. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and mint can also be used to season lamb shanks.
Braising meat is a technique used to lock in moisture when chefs slow cook lamb shank. Chefs shallow-fry the meat all over until it has a browned outer crust. This closes off the pores on the outside of the meat that allow fat to escape during cooking. Although fat from red meat isn’t healthy, it is the best way to keep the finished dish juicy. The act of slow-cooking also helps to keep moisture locked into the meat.
Chefs often slow cook lamb shank in a sauce or a stock to add both moisture and flavor to the dish. The most common sauce includes a vegetable, beef, or chicken stock and red wine. Vegetables such as onions and garlic added to the cooking dish add to the flavor imparted by this mixture. The liquid soaks into the meat during cooking and adds to the moisture provided by the lamb shanks’ natural fat. It also helps to partially simmer the meat instead of dry-roasting it.
When slow-cooking a lamb shank, a lid or cover should almost always be place over the cooking dish to stop moisture being lost through evaporation. The liquid and fat that keep the moisture in the meat can turn into gas and escape from an uncovered pot. Adding a lid to the pot makes this gas condense back into a liquid and stay in the cooking dish.