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Recipe for lamb shanks braised in red wine with shallots: slow cooker/crockpot

Ewe and lamb (copyright Nicholas Tarling)

Ewe and lamb (copyright Nicholas Tarling)

Lamb shanks are perfect for long slow cooking. The price has shot up over the years and now they are expensive to buy. Luckily Danny found some on the Tesco CFC* and I came up with this recipe. Lamb shanks actually have quite a bit of meat on them so we managed to get six good meaty portions out of the shanks. And of course bone in meat makes a much better casserole.

The key ingredients were the shallots and tomato. Our one remaining onion had gone bad so I grabbed some of the shallots that we grew last summer. We had our best ever harvest this year and unlike most onions, shallots keep very well over the winter. As ours were quite small, I just halved them. They looked pretty and were sweetly melt in the mouth. Note to self – must use shallots more often.

I spotted that Gary Rhodes often puts a tomato into a slow cooked dish, so I’ve started to do the same. You can’t taste tomato but it does seem to add that special something.

The wine that I used was a Chianti that just happened to be knocking about in the kitchen. This combined with some lamb stock made a lighter gravy that was surprisingly tantalising and tasty as it allowed the flavour of the herbs and juniper berries to come through. Sometimes the darker gravy that people serve with lamb shanks can taste a bit is if an old leather inner sole has been simmered in the pot too.

I also used Kate UK’s tip and covered the shanks with a doubled sheet of greaseproof paper so the parts above the surface of the liquid did not dry out.

This is definitely a recipe to make in advance. This allows the dish to get quite cold and then it’s easy to remove the lamb fat that has set on the surface of the gravy. Letting the dish get cold also seems to magically improve the flavours.

*CFC – our name for the discounted food section: Condemned Food Counter.

Recipe for lamb shanks braised in red wine with shallots: slow cooker/crockpot
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Fiona Nevile
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours 20 mins
Serves: 2
  • 2 lamb shanks 950g (2 pounds)
  • 300ml (1 and 1/4 cups)of light red wine
  • 500ml (2 cups) of hot lamb stock
  • 100g (1/2 cup) of carrots – peeled and sliced fine
  • 100g (1/2 cup) of shallots – peeled and halved
  • 100g (1/2 cup) of celery – sliced very fine
  • 5 fat cloves of garlic (pressed and chopped fine)
  • 4 fat juniper berries
  • 1 medium tomato – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour (seasoned)
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of anchovy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried savory (or dried thyme at a pinch)
  • 2 inch sprig of rosemary (crushed)
  • 1 bay leaf (crushed)
  1. Prepare the shallots, carrots, tomato and celery and make a nest at the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Roll the lamb shanks in the seasoned flour and place them on the vegetables.
  3. Add the garlic, juniper berries, rosemary, bay leaf, anchovy sauce and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Pour over the wine and the hot lamb stock.
  5. Place a doubled piece of greaseproof paper over the casserole and put on the lid.
  6. Switch to high until the liquid is bubbling well – this will take about an hour (or bring to the boil on your stove top).
  7. Then turn to low for three hours, turning the shanks over after an hour and a half.
  8. After three hours, test to see whether the lamb is tender.
  9. Remove immediately to a cold place (the dish will keep on cooking in the slow cooker for ages even if the cooker is turned off).
  10. Remove the fat the next day.
  11. Gently reheat and serve with mashed potatoes and lots of green vegetables.


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  1. janerowena

    @kooky girl – thank you!

    I had a look today – mine didn’t even have a reduced section let alone any nice meat in it!

  2. I’m glad someone asked that question about CFC- I assumed it was the reduced section, now I know.

  3. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    Your lamb shank recipe and mine were separated at birth. The only difference is that I don’t have juniper but do have shiitake mushrooms.

    You’ve reminded me that I have two in the freezer …

  4. Kooky Girl

    Sounds delish!

    @janerowena: CFC=Condemned Food Counter.. you know, the spot in supermarkets where the reduced food is that you need to eat right now, or freeze etc. Have a freezer full myself! :o)

  5. Tanya @ Lovely Greens

    I was looking for a slow cooker recipe for lamb…this one sounds great.

  6. Beth Jamieson

    This sounds perfect for dinner on a cold wet night. Nothing but rain, wind, and gloom in this week’s forcast. Thank you for sharing.

  7. janerowena

    What does ‘CFC’ stand for?

    I wish I could find some on offer – they are my favourite.

  8. Yum, I’m definitely going to try this, it sounds tasty and I find that some slow cooker recipes are bland.

  9. Tomato does add an extra something doesn’t it? The greaseproof paper too- I read about it on a blog and tried it, now do it every time,reduces the liquid you need and intensifies flavours.

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