I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

April 17, 2011

Braised Lamb Shanks

If Christmas is all about ham and turkey, Easter is all about chocolates and Lamb!

One of the best parts of the lamb is the shank. The shank is the lower part of the leg, the shin really. It's a secondary cut of meat and actually used to relegated to the dog bone bin at the butcher. A few years ago I only used to pay only about a dollar each, but now with their increasing popularity, they can be relatively expensive -so you want to make sure you cook them juuuuust riiiight. It best suits a long, gentle braise with lots of liquid to help break down the meat and leave it so tender that it just falls away from the bone at a touch. Another benefit of cooking meat this way is that you can pretty much set and forget it. You can get on with the rest of your day, mingle with friends, whip up a magical dessert, all while your braise works it's magic.

Nice meaty lamb shanks, one per person
A bottle of Italian Passata, or a couple of tins of crushed tomatoes
A good cup of red wine
Some extra flavors for yumminess- garlic,herbs,spices

Searing the meat and browning it before braising is a really important tip to add extra flavour and colour to the dish. It also creates a nice crust on the meat and caramelises the natural sugars.

Sear and seal the meat in some hot oil. Put them in a dish large enough to hold them with room for liquid to come at least 2/3 up the sides.

Add in the red wine, passata and other flavours - today I used cinnamon sticks, lemon rind strips and some garlic cloves. Salt and pepper are a given of course, and I also added in about a teaspoon of sugar to cut the acid in the tomatoes.

Cover the dish tightly with foil to keep the moisture in and stick it in the oven at around 160 to 180*C.

Forget all about it for the next 2 1/2 hours. If you do happen to remember it's there, you could spoon the sauce over the shanks or turn them over once or twice. The meat should be just about falling off the bones and be very, very tender.

Check the sauce and if it's still a bit thin, you can quickly reduce it on the stove. It should have thickened up a little while it was hibernating in the oven.

I like to serve my shanks with some smooth, creamy mashed potatoes and some just still crunchy green beans or carrots. I also sprinkled on some gremolata, a mix of chopped raw garlic, parsley and lemon rind that adds a fantastic zingy fresh bite to a rich dish like this. A braise can be a bit one dimensional with all the flavours mingling, so this will help wake it up a bit.
Spoon the sauce over the meat generously and dig in!

So dear Readers, what do you think of secondary cuts and what will you be serving at Easter?


  1. I love lamb shanks, haven't cooked them in ages, thanks for reminding me :)

  2. My dad would love these! :)

    I'm not going to cook anything special at Easter. Unlike Christmas, I can never spend Easter with my family because it's in the middle of semester and they live too far away for a short visit.

    That carrot cut you used is one of my favorites, next to carrot tagliatelle. :)

  3. This looks like the perfect dinner! :) Love the delicious thick sauce! Hmmm I've actually not thought of what to serve for Easter! Slacker me...

  4. Oh, YUM! We're at home this Easter, and Rick LOVES lamb shanks, so I'll be making these. I found you through a comment you made on another blog I follow - and I can't remember which!!! You mentioned Indian Grocery shops as a great source for gluten-free flours... Thank You! There is a wonderful store just around the corner from me... I went last week and you are SO right!!!

  5. Wow! Look at those beautiful lamb shanks :)!! I don't cook much lamb at home, but this really sounds like a great idea, thanks for sharing :).

  6. oh wow - this looks so rich and 'fall-off-the-bone- delightful!!! I may have to treat Mr BBB to something like this over Easter :)

  7. I love this recipe especially when the aromas drift from the oven.

  8. I LOVE secondary cuts for Winter! And these look wonderfully soft :D I am not sure what we'll be serving over Easter. Well I am but I've only sorted dessert thus far :P Typical huh!

  9. I love cooking Lamb Shanks, but just cannot handle the taste or smell of lamb on its own. Something to do with every meal having a lamb chop involved as a child. :) I do love the flavours you've used. Very nice Chef!

  10. Oh my, YUM. These look heavenly, tomatoey, amazing! Slow-cooking is the best, you're right. Oh & Easter totally is all about chocolate & lamb, but I think this year mum may make rabbit stew (my nana's recipe at Ben's request!).
    Heidi xo

  11. Oh, I LOVE me some braised lamb shanks! This made me realize that I haven't made them in about a year - something that must be rectified this weekend, I think!

  12. Yum yum! I love shanks in a massaman curry :) On Good Friday we're doing ricotta ravioli, it's a traditional recipe from Stephen's grandmother (who is Catholic, so no meat!), but that's all we have sorted.

  13. I like lamb shank, but still have to try to make at home, love the idea of the sauce on it...you make it sounds so easy...have a great week :-)

  14. I adore lamb shank! The weather is cooling down in Sydney. Time to bring out the casserole pot to make this. Thanks for sharing.

  15. In case you didn't see the catalogue. Aldi have their Gluten Free range in the current catalogue starting 21/4/11.


  16. That sounds incredibly delicious. Lamb is my absolute favorite meat, and yours looks so perfect! The meat seems to be ready to fall right off the bone, yum!

  17. Irresistible, Chef! I adore lamb shanks and your method is just too easy. I have a new casserole pot that would be perfect for those.. :)

    Happy Easter! xxx

  18. Hello Readers!
    It's defintely the time of year to think about slow braises and heavier warming meals isn't it? I hope you keep warm and cosy while you make this!

    Muppy- Time to break out the shanks this weekend!

    Kath- I like this cut too, I don't like the little 'coins' of carrot that can roll of your plate

    Min- The sauce holds the essence of the entire dish, yumm...

    Janet- glad I could help. Just be careful with the translations- I found there is a HUGE difference between Chestnut flour and Waterchestnut flour!

    Cooking Gallery- I grew up with lamb, so we eat it a lot, we only ever had a roast lamb or sometimes a chicken for special occaisions.

    Lisa- I hope you give it a go!

    Chopinandmysaucepan- My husband loves to come in from work and smell this cooking

    Lorrine- I'm glad to see a girl who has her priorities sorted, the entire meal should always revolve around dessert!

    Anna- lamb was just about at every meal with us growing up too, it must have been the era!

    Heidi- I just hope the Easter Bunny doesn't hear about this!

    Ellie- hope you enjoy them!

    JasmyneTea- after travelling 8hrs to the bush, our only options for Good Friday were battered fish and chips from the tiny takeaway shop, or for me- a steak sandwich minus the sandwich, don't tell Stephen's grandma!

    Juliana- this is such a foolproof recipe that it's a good one for your first try with shanks and the sauce is the secret weapon!

    Ellie- The rule in Canberra is not to stick the heater on until Anzac day, but this year I couldn't wait! Cold weater comfort food here I come!

    Michelle- thanks for the tip, I checked it out and they have some great products and bargins, Thanks!

    Eva- It just falls apart when you look at it. The funny thing is my husband also loves shanks baked just as a roast, where they go quite firm and chewy. Total opposites, go figure!

    Celia- I love breaking in new dishes! My favourite casserole dish is a cream coloured enamelled cast iron one that's about 18" long, Perfect for big roasts.