Skip to content

Can You Freeze Cooked Lamb Shanks? Expert Insights

Can You Freeze Cooked Lamb Shanks?

Yes, you can freeze cooked lamb shanks.

After cooking and allowing them to cool, you can store them in an airtight container or freezer bags for up to 3 months.

When reheating, it is recommended to thaw the lamb shanks in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes.

Quick Tips and Facts:

1. Did you know that freezing cooked lamb shanks can actually improve their flavor? The freezing process allows the flavors to meld together and intensify, resulting in a more delicious and tender dish when reheated.

2. Contrary to popular belief, freezing cooked lamb shanks does not affect their nutritional value significantly. While some vitamins and minerals may be slightly diminished, the overall nutritional content remains quite similar, making it a convenient and healthy option for meal prepping.

3. If you’re planning to freeze cooked lamb shanks, it’s best to remove the meat from the bone before placing it in the freezer. This not only allows for more even freezing and reheating but also saves space in your freezer.

4. Frozen cooked lamb shanks can be stored in the freezer for up to three months without significant loss in quality or taste. However, it’s recommended to eat them within this time frame for the best sensory experience.

5. Freezing cooked lamb shanks can be extremely beneficial when you have leftovers. By freezing them, you can avoid food waste and have a delicious, ready-to-eat meal available whenever you crave it.

Cooking Methods: Conventional Oven And Slow Cooker

When it comes to cooking lamb shanks, there are two popular methods: the conventional oven and the slow cooker. Both methods have their advantages, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference and convenience.

To cook lamb shanks in a conventional oven:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large ovenproof dish, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat.
3. Add the lamb shanks and brown them on all sides, ensuring a nice crust forms.
4. Remove the shanks from the dish and set aside.
5. Sauté shallots or onions, baby carrots or normal carrots, and celery in the same dish until they are golden brown, adding depth of flavor.
6. Return the lamb shanks to the dish.
7. Add a good-quality red wine, such as a Syrah/Grenache blend or Spanish Rioja/Ribero del Duero, along with lamb or beef stock.
8. Add garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves for aromatic seasoning.
9. Cover the dish with a tight-fitting lid or foil and transfer it to the preheated oven.

Alternatively, if you prefer using a slow cooker:
1. Follow the same steps for browning the lamb shanks and sautéing the vegetables.
2. Transfer the shanks and vegetables to a slow cooker.
3. Pour in the red wine and stock, and add the herbs.
4. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 7-8 hours or until the lamb is tender and falling off the bone.

  • Conventional oven method:
    • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    • Brown lamb shanks on all sides.
    • Sauté shallots/onions, carrots, and celery until golden brown.
    • Return lamb shanks to the dish.
    • Add red wine, stock, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves.
    • Cover and bake in the preheated oven.
  • Slow cooker method:
    • Brown lamb shanks and sauté vegetables.
    • Transfer to a slow cooker.
    • Pour in red wine, stock, and add herbs.
    • Set slow cooker to low and cook for 7-8 hours.

Browning Lamb Shanks

Browning the lamb shanks before slow-cooking or using the oven is an essential step that adds rich flavor to the dish. By searing the shanks over medium-high heat, you create a caramelized crust that enhances the overall taste and texture of the lamb. This process also helps seal in the juices, resulting in tender and moist meat.

To brown the lamb shanks, follow these steps:

  • Heat a large ovenproof dish or skillet on the stovetop.
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil and let it heat up.
  • Place the shanks in the hot oil and cook for a few minutes on each side, until they develop a golden-brown color.
  • The browning process should take about 5-7 minutes in total.

Once the shanks are browned, remove them from the skillet and set them aside. Remember, this step should not be rushed, as the ultimate goal is to achieve a deeply caramelized exterior that will elevate the flavor of the dish.

Pan Frying Vegetables

To enhance the natural sweetness and intensify the flavors of the vegetables, pan frying is an excellent technique. After browning and setting aside the lamb shanks, use the same skillet to sauté shallots or onions, baby carrots or normal carrots, and celery.

To pan fry the vegetables, simply add them to the skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Cook them until they become tender and slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The process should take approximately 8-10 minutes, depending on the desired level of doneness.

The pan-fried vegetables not only add flavor but also lend a beautiful color and texture to the dish. They create a delightful contrast to the succulent lamb shanks and contribute to a more well-rounded dining experience.

Simmering With Red Wine And Stock

After browning the lamb shanks and pan frying the vegetables, it’s time to introduce the liquid elements to the dish. Pour a generous amount of robust red wine, such as a Syrah/Grenache blend or Spanish Rioja/Ribero del Duero, over the lamb shanks and vegetables. The wine will infuse the dish with its complex flavors and lend a deep richness to the final result.

Additionally, add lamb or beef stock to further enhance the taste and ensure the lamb shanks remain moist throughout the cooking process. The combination of red wine and stock creates a flavorful base that the shanks will simmer in.

To take it a step further, add a couple of whole garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs, thyme, and bay leaves for aromatic seasoning. These herbs will infuse their fragrant notes into the dish as it slowly cooks. Cover the dish with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil, allowing the flavors to meld together beautifully.

  • Brown the lamb shanks and pan fry the vegetables.
  • Pour a generous amount of robust red wine over the lamb and vegetables.
  • Add lamb or beef stock for added taste and moisture.
  • Include garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs, thyme, and bay leaves for aromatic seasoning.
  • Cover the dish tightly and let the flavors meld together.

Serving With Mashed Potatoes And Green Vegetables

To enhance the lamb shank experience, serve them alongside creamy mashed potatoes and vibrant green vegetables. Mashed potatoes offer a soft and velvety base that pairs perfectly with the rich and flavorful shanks. Choose your preferred potato variety (such as Yukon Gold, Maris Piper, or Russet) and boil them until tender. Mash the cooked potatoes with butter, milk, and salt for a luscious and creamy texture.

Green vegetables, such as steamed asparagus, green beans, or broccoli, add a refreshing and healthy component to the dish. These vibrant additions provide a burst of color on the plate and balance out the richness of the lamb. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals for a well-rounded meal.

Consider serving the lamb shanks and side dishes with some crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices and gravy. This combination of flavors and textures creates a truly satisfying meal that will impress your family and guests.

Freezing And Reheating Cooked Lamb Shanks

If you have leftovers or want to prepare ahead of time, cooked lamb shanks can be frozen for later use. To successfully freeze cooked lamb shanks, follow these steps:

  • Cool Down: Before freezing, make sure the cooked lamb shanks have sufficiently cooled down.
  • Portion: Divide the shanks into individual portions or based on your desired serving size.
  • Wrap: Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil or freezer-safe bags to prevent freezer burn.

When it’s time to reheat the frozen cooked lamb shanks, you have a few options:

  • Thawing: The most recommended method is to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Oven Reheating: Once thawed, reheat the lamb shanks in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
  • Quick Reheating: If time is limited, you can reheat the frozen shanks directly from the freezer. Place them in a covered ovenproof dish and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes or until hot all the way through.

To ensure the gravy retains its consistency, you can use cornflour to thicken it:

  • Thickening Gravy: Mix cornflour with a small amount of cold water until it forms a smooth paste, then stir it into the simmering gravy. Cook for a few minutes to allow the gravy to thicken before serving.

It’s important to note that any leftovers that have been thawed and reheated should be discarded after 3 days in the refrigerator to avoid potential food safety risks.

Freezing cooked lamb shanks not only allows you to enjoy this delicious and flavorful dish at your convenience but also helps in reducing food waste and saving time in the kitchen.

Nutrition Information

The approximate nutrition facts for a serving of cooked lamb shanks with mashed potatoes and green vegetables are as follows:

  • Calories: 450
  • Total Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 120mg
  • Sodium: 600mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugars: 5g
  • Protein: 40g

Please note that these values are based on a general guideline and may vary according to specific ingredients used and portion sizes.

Recommended Wine

To complement the flavors of the slow-cooked lamb shanks, it is recommended to pair this dish with a robust red wine. A Syrah/Grenache blend or Spanish Rioja/Ribero del Duero can stand up to the richness of the lamb and provide a wonderful contrast in taste.

The earthy and fruity notes in these wines will complement the savory flavors of the dish, creating a harmonious pairing that enhances the overall dining experience.

Cooked lamb shanks can be frozen and reheated for later enjoyment, allowing you to savor this delicious dish on your own schedule. By following the proper cooking methods – browning the shanks, pan-frying the vegetables, and simmering with red wine and stock – you can create a flavorful and impressive meal that will surely please any lamb lover. Serve the lamb shanks with mashed potatoes, green vegetables, and crusty bread for a complete and satisfying dining experience. Remember to adapt the recipe to your personal preferences and choose a robust red wine to accompany the lamb. So go ahead and enjoy the succulent and tender goodness of cooked lamb shanks, even when time is not on your side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze lamb shanks after cooking?

Yes, absolutely! After cooking the lamb shanks, they can certainly be frozen if you plan on making them ahead of time. Freezing them allows you to preserve the flavors and textures of the dish, ensuring that they remain delicious when you decide to enjoy them later. Simply allow the lamb shanks to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container or freezer bags. When you are ready to eat, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat them gently on the stovetop or in the oven. Your frozen cooked lamb shanks will make for a convenient and tasty meal option.

Can you freeze lamb after cooking?

Yes, you can freeze lamb after cooking to extend its shelf life. It is recommended to store cooked lamb in the freezer for up to two months. However, it is important to ensure the lamb is fully defrosted before using it again and to avoid re-freezing if it has already been frozen once. When reheating, ensure that the lamb is heated until steaming hot throughout to guarantee safety.

How long can you keep cooked lamb shanks in the freezer?

Once cooked, lamb shanks can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. It is important to note that washing meat before cooking it is not advisable, as it can lead to cross-contamination, where bacteria from raw meat can spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. Therefore, it is always recommended to handle and store cooked lamb shanks with caution to ensure its freshness and maintain food safety standards.

How do you reheat cooked lamb shanks?

To reheat cooked lamb shanks, there are various options available. One method is using the microwave, although if you prefer alternatives, you can heat them in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat or utilize an oven-safe pot covered with a lid and bake at around 300 F for approximately 15-20 minutes. These methods will ensure the lamb shanks are warmed through and ready to enjoy without compromising their flavors and tenderness.

Share this post on social!