Braised Lamb Shank with Rosemary: This lamb shank is braised in a hearty sauce of tomatoes, rosemary, onions and leek for 2 hours until fork-tender, and then served on a bed of mashed potatoes, and topped with cherry tomatoes on vine. A dinner party-worthy dish that requires only 45 minutes of active time!
My husband and I went to Cambridge, UK to attend my daughter’s graduation some years back. We went to Anatolia Turkish Restaurant for lunch. The braised lamb shank I had there was one of the best I’ve ever tasted.The fall-off-the-bone tenderness and herb-rich gravy that went with it was heavenly. It was so good that we went back the very next day just to have another round of lamb shank before we flew back to Singapore.
After that, whenever I dine out and see braised lamb shank on the menu, I am always tempted to order it. But many times when I did, I’m sad to say the lamb shank could never compare to what I had in that little Turkish restaurant, which I still cannot forget! If I ever have a chance to go back to Cambridge, it will definitely be the number one place on my list to go to!
Since I missed this dish so much, the only way to satisfy my palate was to try to replicate this recipe at home. That how I came out with this recipe for braised lamb shank and my family love it very much. I only make this on special occasions like Christmas or New Year, but I just recently made this for my family so we could film this recipe for you to make this Christmas!
By the way, in just you haven’t realised, Christmas is just 4 days away! So if you need more festive / potluck recipe ideas, do check out our 29 festive ideas for Christmas and New Year here!
How We are Celebrating Christmas
Though I talk a lot about the food, Christmas is not just about food and merry-making, it holds a special meaning for me and my family. And since this is my last post before we take a break for Christmas, here’s a peek into how I will be celebrating Christmas this year.
This year Christmas Day falls on a Monday, so we are having our family Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, I’ll be attending our church Christmas service at BBTC where there’s a special appearance by Mediacorp artist Belinda Lee. It’s open to public so if you want to experience a meaningful Christmas service this Christmas, you are most welcome to join us here (drop me an email/msg if you are planning to come by).
Christmas is a time when everyone in my family and my sister’s family will come together without fail for our long-awaited Christmas meal. We usually do Christmas lunch, but it will drag on until dinner time when we eat the leftovers from lunch! No one is in a hurry to leave as we are all enjoying the good company and festive mood. I thank God for my family and I’m looking forward to spending time with all of them this Christmas. In case you are wondering, here’s what we have on the menu so far: Creamy Crab Bisque, Roast Beef Tenderloin, Crackling Pork Belly (in my free Christmas eBook), Cheese Platter etc etc.
After the meal comes my favourite part, singing Christmas carols with my loved ones. My eldest daughter will play the carols for us on the piano while we all belt out song, after song, after song until we run out of carols to sing. My grandchildren all love to sing carols as well, and even the young ones will join in by dancing along as we sing. Singing Christmas carols not only brings out the Christmas spirit, but also reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas, you should give it a try for fun too!
Finally, towards the end of the day, we will sit around in a circle and open Christmas presents together, which is the part that all the grandchildren love most. Receiving presents is fun, but I always enjoy seeing my loved ones open the presents I gave them more. If you are not a Christian or from another faith, you may think its strange that Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus’s birthday but we are the ones getting the presents. But actually the Bible tells us that Christmas is the day God gave mankind the greatest gift of all, the day the Saviour of the world was born. “For God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
So we (Melissa and I) hope that this Christmas you will enjoy good food, great company and receive many lovely presents, but more importantly that you will experience the greatest gift of all – love, joy and peace through Jesus Christ our Saviour! Here’s wishing you a truly meaningful Christmas and a blessed 2018 ahead!
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: No modifications needed.
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.
Braised Lamb Shank with Rosemary
This lamb shank is braised in a hearty sauce of tomatoes, rosemary, onions and leek for 2 hours until fork-tender, and then served on a bed of mashed potatoes, and topped with cherry tomatoes on vine. A dinner party-worthy dish that requires only 45 minutes of active time!
- 1 TBsp Olive Oil
- 8 Lamb Shanks
- 4-5 TBsp Olive Oil
- 1 Big Yellow Onion
- 5 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Can Tomato Paste Hunt's brand
- 4-5 Bay Leaves
- 5 Cloves
- 1 English Leek
- A Dash Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes Hunt's brand
- 2 Fresh Tomatoes
- 1 TBsp Plain Flour To thicken the gravy
- 2 Litres Hot Water Or enough to cover the lamb shanks
- 300 ml Port Wine
- 11/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 TBsp Rosemary
- 2 tsp Coriander
- 1 tsp Oregano, (optional)
- 2 TBsp Plain Flour To coat the lamb shank
- Mashed Potatoes
- Fresh Rosemary
- Cherry Tomatoes on Vine
PREPARATION METHOD (15 min)
Wash the lamb shanks, drain and pat dry with kitchen towel.
Mix the herbs and salt together in a bowl, then rub the lamb shanks with the herb mixture.
Sprinkle 2 TBsp of flour over the lamb shank, ensure each piece is evenly coated with flour. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
Wash the onions, leek and tomato. Then peel the onion, then chop coarsely.
Peel the garlic, and chop finely.
Cut the leek into 3 cm lengths.
Dice the tomatoes into small cubes.
Open the canned tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
COOKING METHOD (2h 30min)
Heat up 1 TBsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a non-stick pan.
Pan fry the lamb shanks (3 at a time) on all sides until golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
Clean the pan with a kitchen towel, then add in 5 TBsp of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add in the chopped onion and fry till limp.
Next add in the chopped garlic and tomato paste and fry until the oil turns slightly orange in colour.
Add in the bay leaves, cloves, leeks, ground black pepper, diced tomato and fresh tomatoes. Bring to a boil and transfer to a non-stick pot.
Then add in 1 TBsp flour to the pot, and mix well.
Top up with hot water to the pot, and add in the lamb shanks. Ensure that there is enough water covering all the lamb shanks.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium low and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from getting burnt.
Add in the port wine in the last half hour of cooking. Use a fork to prick through the thickest part of the meat to test if it is tender or more time is needed. Add salt to taste.
Serve with mashed potatoes and garnish with fresh rosemary and cherry tomatoes on vine.
- The stewing time varies according to the type of pot used. It is best to use a pot that is less likely to dry up the stock quickly. In general, thick stainless steel pots are preferred for stewing and braising as compared to aluminium pots, because they are thicker and there is less direct contact with the heat source, so the gravy doesn't dry out as fast. For me, I prefer to use my stainless steel AMC pot which has a very thick base, so the water doesn't dry up so fast. Alternatively you can try using a thick non-stick pan.
- Make sure there is sufficient water in the braised lamb shank at all times, otherwise it will get burnt.
- If the gravy dries up before the lamb shank is tender, more water can be added to it. Conversely, if the shank is already tender and the gravy is too diluted, turn heat to medium high to evaporate some of the gravy but make sure you stand by the pot to keep stirring it otherwise the bottom will get burnt as the gravy thickens.
- Fresh tomatoes are used to add a more tangy flavour to the stew.
- Make sure you get tomato paste, not tomato puree or tomato sauce for making the sauce. Of the three, tomato paste has the thickest and driest consistency. If you use tomato puree or tomato sauce, the lamb will not be as flavourful. We like to use the Hunt's brand of tomato paste.
- Do not use high heat to saute the tomato paste as the paste is thick and it gets burnt very easily and stuck to the bottom of the wok, ruining the entire dish.
- In general, never overheat olive oil as it will lose its flavour. For cooking purposes, normal olive oil will do. Its a waste to use virgin or extra virgin olive oil for cooking, instead you should save them for use in salad dressings.