Slow braised lamb shanks 5 ways

  • Serves 2
  • Preparation time:
  • Cooking time:


2 tablespoons coconut oil, butter or ghee, for frying.
2-4 lamb shanks.
1/2 cup white wine, or red wine, or Basic Chicken Bone Stock (with a splash of white vinegar added to up the acid).


In a large skillet, heat oil and brown the shanks (which you’ve rubbed in salt and pepper) on all three sides (yes, shanks have three sides). This will take about 20 minutes. Pour off the excess fat, lower the heat and add the liquid. Simmer, covered, for 1½ to 2 hours, turning every 20 minutes or so and adding water – ¼ cup at a time – as required, until the meat is falling of the bone.

When they’ve cooled, drag the meat off the bone and reserve the liquid.

With the meat: divide as required (three shanks should serve 4-5 in the recipes below).

With the liquid: let it cool in a jar or bowl in the fridge, skim the fat and store in the fridge or freezer. It should make about 1/2 cup of liquid. Use it for deglazing or for liquid in the various recipes below.

With the bones: enjoy as a snack and suck out the marrow and chew the cartilage bits. Both are soooo good for your hair, bones and nails.


Chinese Lamb Shanks (serves 4-5): Mix in a saucepan: 2.5 tablespoons each of soy (or Tamari) sauce, garlic (minced), fresh ginger (minced); 1 tablespoon each rice malt syrup and five-spice powder, plus the shredded meat and the lamb shank liquid (from above). Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Serve with steamed bok choy.

Roast Lamb Cheesy Pie (serves 4-5): Lightly steam 1 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower, 1/1/2 cups pumpkin (sliced really finely), one onion (sliced) and 1 cup frozen peas. Spread the shredded meat over a lightly greased baking dish, then layer the vegetables on top and grate some cheddar cheese over the lot. Bake in a 180ºC / 350ºF oven for about 15 minutes. Serve with a salad.

Shepherd's Pie (serves 4-5): Spread the shredded meat over a lightly greased baking dish, top with some very finely sliced eggplant that you’ve fried and a sprinkle of cumin, then top with mashed potato (great way to use up leftover mash) and dot with several tablespoons of butter. Bake in a 200°C / 400°F oven for about 15 minutes.

Lamb Ragu (Serves 4-5): Fry 100g of pancetta (cubed), in oil. Reduce heat and add 2 onions (chopped) and sweat for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon each of fresh rosemary and garlic (minced) and a shake of red chilli flakes. Add the shredded lamb and lamb shank liquid (from above), 1/2 cup of white wine and 400g tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer 30 minutes, stirring. Serve with pasta or polenta.

Lamb Shank Curry (Serves 4-5): Bring to the boil in a large pot (covered): 2 small onions (chopped); 1 tablespoon each of minced garlic, chilli, ginger; 400g tin of chopped tomatoes; 1 cup coconut milk; 2 teaspoons of garam masala or use 2 tablespoons of curry paste; the lamb shank liquid and shredded lamb (from above). Reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in cashews, coconut flakes, coriander. Serve with rice or steamed greens.