Lamb Shanks Enriched With Chocolate

This recipe makes good use of a long cooking time. Remove the lamb meat from the bone and use it for a pie filling if you don’t want to eat it all at once!


  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 8 Frenched lamb shanks (ask your butcher to do this)
  • 12 eschalots, peeled
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved crossways
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup (35g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) red wine
  • 1L (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 20g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 50g salted butter, chopped
  • 2 tbs malt vinegar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Dried chilli flakes and chervil sprigs, to serve


1.Preheat oven to 150°C.

2.Place carrot, celery and thyme in a food processor and whiz until finely chopped. Set aside.

3.Heat oil in a large flameproof casserole with a lid over medium-high heat. Season lamb. In 2 batches, cook, turning, for 10-12 minutes or until browned all over. Remove and set aside.

4.Add eschalot and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned and charred around the edges. Add carrot mixture and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add tomato paste and stir to coat, then add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add red wine, scraping the bottom of the casserole with a wooden spoon. Add stock and bring to a simmer, then return lamb to the casserole.

5.Cover, then roast for 2 hours 30 minutes or until tender. Remove shanks from casserole and set aside.

6.Place the casserole over medium-high heat and cook for 40 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half. Stir through chocolate, butter and vinegar. Season, then return shanks to casserole.

7.Serve lamb scattered with orange zest, chilli and chervil.