Lamb Shanks with Celeriac Mash



I love cooking lamb shanks as each is already a perfect meal-sized portion - no cutting, trimming or anything. Just sear, then slow cook for a beautifully textured result.

The anchovies in this recipe are not detectable in the finished dish, they just melt in, lending a robust savoury-ness to the cooking stock. Served with chunky mashed celeriac, this is one of my favourite mid-winter suppers.



(Serves 4)

  • 4 medium-sized lamb shanks
  • 50g of butter
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion - roughly chopped 
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • Bouquet garni of a few sprigs of thyme, rosemary, some parsley & two bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine
  • 200mls red wine
  • 250mls beef stock
  • 1 lemon - juice only

For the Celeriac Mash

  • 1 medium-sized head of celeriac
  • 50g salted butter
  • 100mls pouring (single) cream
  • Small amount of milk (approx. 50mls) – optional
  • Salt & white pepper


Preheat the oven to 160°C. Prepare the shanks for cooking by sprinkling very lightly with salt (the anchovies and stock will add a lot of salt), and more liberally with freshly ground black pepper. 

In a large, heavy-based casserole pan, heat the butter and the olive oil together over a medium-high flame, adding the shanks when the butter begins to foam. When a crisp brown crust has begun to form on the shanks, turn them over using a pair of tongs to brown the other side. Once the shanks are browned all over (approx. 6 minutes), remove from the pan and set aside.

Returning the pan to a medium heat, add the chopped onions and the anchovy fillets. Use a wooden spoon to break up the anchovies as they heat. When the onions begin to become translucent, (around 5 minutes or so), add the garlic, followed by the bouquet garni, and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring all the while in order to ensure that the garlic doesn't burn.

Now, turn the heat up to medium and deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping any browned bits from the base and sides with a wooden spoon. Return the veal shanks to the pan and cover with a lid, leaving a gap for the steam to escape. Let the wine reach a boil, and cook down until it reduces and thickens a little. Now, add 200ml of the beef stock, and bring to a boil once again.

Once boiling, cover fully with a lid, and place carefully inside the preheated oven. Cook slowly at 160°for 2-2.5 hours, checking regularly during cooking to ensure that the cooking liquid is not drying out. If necessary, add the remaining stock (or water). You'll know the meat is ready when it looks ready to fall front he bone. 

While the lamb is cooking, prepare the celeriac by removing the rough outer skin carefully using a large sharp knife. Discard the skin, then chop the flesh into approximately 2 inch cubes. Place in a medium-sized saucepan of water, add a teaspoon of salt, and boil for between 15-20 minutes until soft through as determined with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain through a colander, and then return to the pot.

Over a low heat, add the butter to the drained celeriac and stir until melted. Next add the cream and, using a hand-held masher, mash to a chunky consistency. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

When the lamb is cooked, turn off the oven, then remove the shanks from the pan to a heated dish and leave these to rest in the warm oven. To finish the sauce, place the pan back on the stove top, over a high heat - remove and discard the bouquet garni, and cook down the sauce until you achieve a desirable pouring consistency. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Lastly, add the lemon juice and stir through.

To serve, position each lamb shank centrally on a bed of the celeriac mash and pour the warm sauce over the top.

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