Tortilla Española with Lamb Shanks

Metric version of recipe

Yields 8 portions as a first course, or 16 as a tapa

Ingredient Amount
For the lamb shanks  
Lamb shanks (about 2lbs. 3 oz.) 2 ea.
Salt 2 tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground 1 tsp.
Olive oil, extra virgin 2 Tbsp.
Yellow onion, diced 2 cups
Carrots, diced 1 cup
Celery ribs, diced 2/3 cup
Garlic, minced ¼ cup
Spanish red wine, preferably Tempranillo 4 cups
Cayenne 2 tsp.
Smoked paprika 4 tsp.
Thyme sprigs 3 ea.
Water, or enough to cover the meat 2 cups
For the tortilla  
Olive oil, extra virgin 1-1/2 cups
Yukon gold potatoes, medium, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick, (about 1 lb. 8 oz.) 5 ea.
Yellow onions, minced 2 cups
Eggs 8 ea.
Salt 1 tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground ¼ tsp.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season the lamb shanks with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown well on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the wine to the hot pan and deglaze, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  2. Return the lamb shanks to the pot, add the cayenne, paprika, thyme sprigs, and enough water to just cover the meat and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours, or until the lamb is fork tender and falling away from the bone. Remove from the oven and allow the meat to cool in the liquid for 1 hour, or until cool enough to handle.
  3. Remove the lamb shanks from the liquid and shred the meat, discarding all of the fat and sinew. Set the shredded meat aside. Strain the liquid. Use a gravy separator to remove the fat, or chill the broth and skim the fat off the surface. Return the broth to the pot, bring to a boil over high heat, and reduce by half, about 25 minutes. Set aside to use as a sauce. Keep the oven at 350°F.
  4. Make the tortilla. Heat all but 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes and onions from the oil.
  5. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the potato-onion mixture and stir together. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add half the egg and potato mixture. Shake the pan, lifting the edges of the omelet with the spatula and tilting the pan so that egg reuns underneath to set the omlet. Layer the shredded lamb over the egg mixture. Cook, shaking the pan gently, for 4 minutes, or until the bottom is browned. Place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until set. Slide the omelet onto a plate and flip back into the pan to brown the top for 3 minutes (or brown under the broiler). Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Cut into 1-1/2-inch squares, or into 8 wedges, and serve with ¼ cup of the sauce.

Additional tips

Recipe credit: Kevin Marquet for the American Lamb Board, as presented at the 2006 Worlds of Flavor International Conference and Festival. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Presented at the World Marketplace on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006.

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