Monkey Weddings & Summer Sapphires

South Africa to Nova Scotia: Stories, Recipes & Memories

Karoo Lamb Shanks

The basics of this slow cooked lamb shank recipe were jotted down on a serviette by Mom on the night we spent in the village of Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo—a beautiful town with tree lined avenues and charming Victorian cottages. She had struck up a conversation with a chef at the grand, old dame of a hotel, The Drostdy. She scribbled down the most important elements: braise shanks before; add anchovies; Pinotage wine; fresh rosemary; honey. As I’ve tweaked and built upon the recipe over years, I now add maple syrup instead of honey, I use Malbec because it’s usually what I have open, and I’ve added fresh thyme, but I never forget the anchovies.





Yield: 4 servings


4 lamb shanks

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 celery stalks, chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 fresh thyme sprigs

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 can tomatoes, chopped

4 anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 cup red wine

½ cup beef stock

1 bay leaf



  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉.

  2. Season shanks with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, over a medium-high heat, add olive 1 tablespoon oil and brown shanks until golden. Remove and set aside.

  3. In the same Dutch oven, add olive oil and sauté onions, celery, carrots, garlic and herbs.

  4. Add tomatoes, anchovies, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Let simmer for a few minutes.

  5. Place the lamb shanks into the sauce. Add wine, stock and bay leaf.

  6. Cover and place in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat is soft and falling off the bone.

  7. Remove from the oven and move shanks from pan to a serving dish.

  8. Strain the sauce and reduce to a thin jus. Pour the sauce over the shanks.

Serve with buttermilk mashed potatoes



Copyright © Colleen Thompson, 2020.
All rights reserved.