3 hours 15 mins
Recipe type: Mains, Slow Cooked
2 tbsp olive oil, separated
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 lamb shanks, approx 400g/13oz each (Note 1)
Salt and pepper
1 carrot, finely chopped (optional, but recommended)
3 tbsp / ¼ cup flour (35g)
1 onion, finely chopped (white, brown, yellow)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped (optional, but recommended)
1½ cups / 375ml red wine, or more beef broth (Note 3)
3 tbsp / ¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups / 500 ml beef broth (liquid beef stock) (or sub with chicken broth)
3 cups / 750 ml port (Note 2)
3 dried bay leaves (or 5 fresh)
4 stalks fresh parsley (optional)
5 sprigs thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Season lamb with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a dutch oven or large heavy based pot over high heat. Add 2 lamb shanks and cook, turning, until browned (see photo). Remove then repeat with remaining lamb.
- Turn heat down to medium. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil, garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes until onion is softened.
- Add flour. Mix into onion mixture.
- Add remaining ingredients. Mix - lumps are ok, they will dissolve while cooking.
- Add lamb back in - the meat should be mostly submerged. Bring to simmer, then turn heat down to medium low and cover with lid.
- Simmer for 2 hours (Note 4) then remove lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove lamb into a bowl.
- Optional: Strain sauce in dutch oven into a bowl. Use spoon to press into onion etc to squeeze out all the flavourful liquid. Pour sauce into dutch oven. (Note 5)
- Skim excess fat off sauce.
- Increase heat to medium high and reduce liquid by half or until it thickens to a syrup consistency.
- Return lamb shanks and juices pooled in the bowl into sauce to reheat, then serve with creamy mashed potato, garnished with parsley.
1. Lamb shanks come in all manner of sizes and cuts. Go for lamb shanks of a suitable size per serving, bearing in mind the size of your pot and that they will shrink by about 25% when cooked. Some lamb shanks come with the bone partially cut so they bend to fit into the pot, which is helpful. My lamb shanks were about 400g/13oz each and 4 fit inside a standard dutch oven, mostly submerged. They don't need to be full submerged in the liquid as the steam will cook the exposed surface (as well as browning them nicely) and they should be turned while cooking.
ALTERNATE PROTEINS: This recipe is also be sensational made with beef cheeks and chunky beef ribs. It was a toss up which version to share, but I went for shanks because I think it looks grand!
2. There is no need to use expensive port and wine for this! It will taste lovely even using discount end of line bottles which I use, however, if you do use expense bottles, then of course it will give it an edge. But I do not. I shop at Dan Murphy's and Aldi's for cheap bottles. I honestly believe that for slow cooked things, you can barely tell the difference whether you use expensive or discount liquor. The port I use is $10 for a 750ml/25oz bottle.
You can use ruby or tawny port. By the time this has slow cooked, there is not much difference between the two except that ruby gives you a slightly redder sauce because ruby port is redder than tawny which is a deep brown colour. (Ruby port is younger, tawny is aged).
3. Using red wine instead of more beef broth gives this a slight edge in the depth of flavour of the sauce, but not much. I often make it without red wine, using more beef broth instead.
4. This step can be done in a 160C/320F oven (covered with foil or lid) for 2 hours covered then 30 min uncovered. Then reduce sauce on the stove per recipe. Or cook in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours, then follow recipe to reduce sauce on the stove.
5. Straining the sauce makes it "restauranty" by making it lump free. This step is optional.
6. This gets better overnight. To make ahead, follow the entire recipe then let cool, then refrigerate overnight in the dutch oven. Scrape fat off surface. Reheat on the stove or @180C in oven for 15 minutes (covered).
7. To make this gluten free, omit the flour. When the lamb is cooked, remove it, then mix 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch with 2 tbsp water. Add into the sauce, mix and let it thicken.
8. This recipe is inspired by these famous Beef Cheeks in Pedo Ximenez (Spanish Sherry), a recipe by Frank Camorra, an Australian chef and restauranteur. These beef cheeks are the signature dish at his Movida restaurants.
9. Nutrition does NOT take into account fat skimmed off the sauce. If you leave this overnight, you will get more fat out of the sauce.
Serving size: 605 g Calories: 678 calories Fat: 22.5g Saturated fat: 6.5g Unsaturated fat: 14.0g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 18.4g Sugar: 6.0g Sodium: 575mg Fiber: 1.9g Protein: 60.6g Cholesterol: 180mg