Lamb Shanks in Oaxacan Red Mole Sauce

Lamb Shanks in Oaxacan Red Mole Sauce
  • Recipe Comments
  • Max 5 stars
    My Rating
    (0 Ratings)
  • Prep:
  • Cook Time:
  • Total:
  • Serving:
Recipe for Lamb Shank in an Oaxacan Red Mole Sauce. Don’t be intimidated by this recipe you will love the outcome.


  • For the mole sauce:
  • 6 plum tomatoes, roasted
  • 2 garlic cloves, roasted
  • water for consistency
  • 3 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, toasted (Mexican preferred)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground peppercorns, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, toasted
  • 8 ancho chiles
  • 6 guajillo chiles
  • 1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt to taste
  • For the lamb shanks:
  • 4 medium to large lamb shanks (foreshanks preferred whenever possible)
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 4 (12 inch) squares of banana leaves (available in the frozen section of any Mexican market)


  1. To prepare the mole sauce:
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend tomatoes and garlic cloves, adding water if necessary. Strain and set aside.
  3. In a spice grinder pulverize the sesame seeds, peppercorns, oregano and cinnamon; set aside.
  4. Make a lengthwise cut on one side of each ancho and guajillo chile and remove seeds. Put chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water, letting soak for 20 minutes or until soft.
  5. Place chiles and soaking water in a blender. Purée, Strain and set aside.
  6. In a medium stockpot, heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil, add the dried spices stirring continuously, add the two purées and bring to a boil. Add the chocolate, sugar, and salt to taste; let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  7. To prepare the lamb shanks: Season the lamb shanks with salt and in a hot skillet sear shanks in oil on all sides. In a bowl, dip each shank in mole sauce, sprinkle with some of the vinegar, chopped onion and salt, then wrap in a banana leaf and then in aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Place shank on a plate and top with additional warm mole sauce.