Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

This recipe is doing the rounds at work and considering I work at one of New Zealand’s largest beef and lamb exporters this is a huge compliment to Chelsea Winter who created it. These shanks are outstanding on a cold winters night and superb with a nice red to wash it down. I use my trusty slow cooker for this so that I can come home from work and devour however you can do it in the oven. Visit Chelsea’s website below for the original recipe.


  • 4 large New Zealand lamb shanks (I get mine from Westmeat)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ bottle red wine
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 cup lamb stock (or use 1/2 beef 1/2 chicken)
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carrot, halved
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves pulled off
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter


Season the shanks generously with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, then brown the shanks in batches for a few minutes each side, turning until browned and crunchy all over (browning creates a great depth of flavour you get once they’re cooked). Set the shanks aside.

Add the remaining olive oil, butter, onion, garlic, shallot  and tomato paste to the same pan, and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat until the onion is soft. Turn up the heat, add the wine, bring to a rapid simmer and let it bubble for 30 seconds or so to burn off the alcohol. Add the thyme, lamb stock, tomatoes, carrot, cayenne pepper, rosemary, bay leaf, thyme and sugar to the pan and stir to combine. Transfer to your slow cooker and turn on low.

Add the shanks and nestle them in to cover them as much as possible with the liquid. Cover and cook in the slow cooker for 8 hours (can be longer if you are at work) on low.

Remove from the slow cooker and gently remove the shanks (careful as they will be very delicate) and set aside covered in foil. Discard the bay leaf, carrot and celery from the sauce, transfer to a pan on the stovetop. Add the butter and simmer to reduce to a nice shiny sauce. You may need to add a paste of 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1/4 cup water to thicken it up.  Taste and season with salt and cracked pepper.

Serve the shanks over a creamy mash (I used parsnip and pumpkin), with green vegetables drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with lemon zest. Smother the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with parsley and lemon zest if you like.

Don’t forget to drink the rest of your red wine with dinner.

Serves 4

Recipe adapted from Chelsea Winter

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