food, Recipes

Lamb Shanks

Sean Calitz
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1T butter
  • 1/2 cup seasoned flour
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 2T tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato purée
  • 500ml lamb or beef stock
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 2.25 litres chicken stock
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 2T finely grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 160°C. Trim any excess fat and gristle from the meat of the lamb shanks. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large casserole dish or oven-proof saucepan. Dust the lamb shanks in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Brown each shank well on all sides, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and rosemary to the saucepan and sauté until the onion is translucent and beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste and cook through for about a minute, then add the wine and balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes to thicken slightly. Return the shanks to the saucepan and add the tomatoes, tomato purée, lamb or beef stock and enough water to cover the shanks. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid or foil and place the saucepan in the oven. Braise the shanks for about two and a half to three hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove the shanks from the cooking liquid and set aside. Discard the rosemary sprigs. Simmer the liquid for about 10 minutes until reduced, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To make the creamy polenta, place the chicken stock in a large heavy-based saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.

Gradually add the polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 35 minutes or until the polenta is thick and creamy and begins to splutter. Add the butter and gratedParmesan and stir until melted. Season well with salt and black pepper.

Serve the shanks on the bone, or off, with plenty of sauce, creamy polenta and shavings of Parmesan.

Serves 4 to 6

This recipe originally featured in the June 2013 issue of House and Leisure.