Mexican-Lamb Shanks

After watching Ben on Masterchef turn every challenge into an opportunity to indulge his love of Mexican spices and cooking, I was inspired. They’re spices we always have in the cupboard, but we don’t always put them together the same way. What better way to warm up on a Sunday night than with an enormous bowl of hearty Mexican Lamb Shanks that have been cooking away for half the day filling the house with that gorgeous aroma?
I’m afraid I haven’t got a “how to” on this one because it’s just way too simple!
Lamb Shanks
Serves two as shanks or 4 as a ragu
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-4 T olive oil
  • 2 t paprika
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 dried chipotle jalapeno chilli, reconstituted in 1/4 C boiling water
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 500mL beef stock


  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 T smoked paprika


  • 4 C water
  • 1 C polenta
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 50g butter
  1. Reserve liquid from chilli and finely dice the chilli.
  2. Combine olive oil, both types of paprika, cumin, coriander, crushed garlic, diced chilli and brown sugar to form a thick paste.
  3. Rub the spice paste over the lamb shanks.
  4. Brown the lamb shanks off in a large, oven proof dish that has a lid, until they thoroughly caramelised on the outside.
  5. Remove from the heat, add the vegetables, chilli water and stock stirring until all the goodness comes off the bottom.
  6. Place lamb shanks on top of the vegetables. Cover the pan with baking paper, foil and the lid. You want to make sure all the steam and goodness stay inside the baking dish.
  7. Cook for 3-4 hours. Check hourly to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated. If it starts getting low, add one cup of beef stock at a time.
  8. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, make your polenta.
  9. Bring 4 C water to the boil.
  10. Once boiling, slowly pour in the polenta, stirring the whole time. Add in your pinch of salt.
  11. Simmer for around 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently until thick and starting to pull away from the sides.
  12. Stir through the butter until melted.

For Two:

  1. Serve whole shanks on polenta with vegetables and sauce.

For Four:

  1. Shred meat off bones, mix through sauce and vegetables before serving over the polenta.

3 thoughts on “Mexican-Lamb Shanks

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