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The slow cooker chef: Low fat summery lamb shanks braised in red wine and tomatoes recipe

Phot: Sheep grazing in spring

Phot: Sheep grazing in spring

I tend not to buy lamb shanks as they usually look so weedy and unappetising. Last week I spotted a half price pack of two lamb shanks on the Tesco condemned food counter. These were quite chunky (just under a kilo) and the original price was pretty stout too.

They had been reduced from £7.95 to £3.50. So naturally they ended up in my trolley. I decided to try just using ingredients that were knocking about in the fridge and larder and devised this dish that would easily feed eight. The combination of carrots, tomatoes and red wine worked well with the lamb. The lentils and barley padded out the meat and added more texture to the dish. It’s really easy to make and tasted as though we’d slaved for hours balancing the soft flavours.

There is no need to fry the onions or the meat, so like so many slow cooker dishes, this recipe is low fat.

We planned to have one meal and freeze the rest in batches but we’ve ended up eating it three nights running. It definitely was best when left to chill completely overnight before reheating the next day.

It was great with herb infused bulgar wheat and a salad of fresh leaves from the garden.  It was also lovely with John Coe’s broad beans and buttery new potatoes.

Low fat summery lamb shanks braised in red wine and tomatoes recipe (for 6-8 hungry people)


  • 150g of chopped onions
  • 350g of peeled chopped carrots
  • 2 chubby lamb shanks (weighing about a kilo)
  • 2 x 440g of tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of mushroom ketchup
  • 1 tsp of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp of Provencal herbs
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 4 tablespoons of plain seasoned flour
  • 2 small handfuls of large green lentils
  • 1 small handful of pearl barley
  • Boiling water to cover


  1. Add the chopped onions and carrots to the slow cooker.
  2. Roll the lamb shanks in the flour and sprinkle the left over flour through the onions and carrots.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes and stir then through.
  4. Place the lamb shanks on the bed of vegetables.
  5. Add the wine, garlic, herbs, mushroom ketchup, vegetable stock cube, lentils and pearl barley.  Top up with boiling water to cover everything.
  6. Switch the slow cooker to auto (or high until it reaches simmering point and then switch it to low) and let it cook for about five hours. Test after four hours, as slimmer shanks may need less time.
  7. When the meat is falling off the bones remove the dish from the slow cooker and chill completely to skim off the fat. Then cut up the meat from the shanks, remove the bones and stir this evenly into the mixture.
  8. Reheat gently and serve with bulgar wheet, potatoes or even crunchy fresh bread.

  Leave a reply


  1. Sylvie

    Sounds like the perfect slow cooker recipe.

  2. We love lamb shanks, so I’ll certainly give this recipe a go. Thanks! 🙂

  3. S.o.L

    my mouth is watering. potato and cauliflower curry for our dinner! cant wait

  4. Veronica

    I really like lamb shanks, and though they may look weedy, there is a surprising amount of meat on them. They are lovely cooked long and slowly until falling apart; they make a delicious tajine with prunes or dried apricots, nuts, honey, and spices. I’m sure that would work well in a slow cooker too.

    We don’t often seem them fresh, but frozen New Zealand ones can be very good value.

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