Healthy Sticky Lamb Shanks
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Dairy-free | No added fats or oils
Makes: 6 small shanks
Cuisine: Bridget’s Healthy Kitchen
Prep time: 20 - 30 minutes
Cook time (Total): 7 hours & 35 minutes - 8 hours & 45 minutes
I have been roasting and slow braising lamb shanks since I started cooking in restaurants. In the 80s and 90s, lamb shanks were still relatively cheap and were the secondary cut that everyone who was anyone was ordering and devouring.
Unfortunately, the days of cheap shanks are long gone, so we need to make sure that we create an incredible experience from these fine cuts when we can.
This dish tastes even better than it looks. Yes, it’s possible! And a lot of the tasty goodness has to do with the incredible gravy that you will get from the roasting and then slow cooking process.
As always, this recipe is free from any gluten, wheat or thickeners, and it has no sugar, nuts or sweeteners. It’s also egg-free, dairy and is possibly one of the tastiest meals I have had in a very long time.
Hints, Tips & Tricks
This recipe requires Bridget’s Sticky Sauce, a healthy cooking sauce that I use in many of my recipes. It’s simple, healthy and packs a lot of flavour without adding unnecessary calories, and it’s also the ingredient behind the sticky goodness. If you need the recipe, you can get it here.
I use my roasted tomato sauce to ensure this recipe stays free from sugar and gluten. You will need to prepare this sauce before continuing. My sauce is extremely versatile, and I use it in many other delicious recipes. I always keep a jar of it in my fridge for impromptu curries, sauces and zucchini noodle pasta dishes. You can find the recipe here.
Another recipe you’ll need to pre-prepare is my Kombu Water. Suppose you’ve been following me for a while. In that case, you’ll know that kombu water is my healthy broth alternative, as well as one of my favourite foundation recipes. If you need the recipe, you can find it here.
Serve your shanks with cauliflower mash, broccoli mash or rice. They’re even fantastic with roasted vegetables or a fresh garden salad.
- 6 small shanks or 3 large ones
- 1 large fennel bulb, chopped into chunks
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
- 12 cloves garlic
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1⁄2 tbsp each cinnamon, garam masala and cumin powder
- 4 tbsp Bridget’s Sticky Sauce
- 12 heaped tbsp Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large green apple, chopped into chunks
- 750 ml (1.5 pints) Kombu Water
- Preheat your oven to 250C (480F) and lay the shanks into a large roasting tray.
- Add the fennel, onion, ginger, garlic cloves and fresh thyme or rosemary. Sprinkle over the cumin seeds, cinnamon, garam masala and cumin powders and dribble over the sticky sauce as evenly as possible.
- Smother each shank with some roasted tomato sauce and season well with salt and pepper. Place the tray into the oven and cook the shanks for 35-45 minutes until dark and well roasted. The darker, the better, as this will help flavour and colour the gravy.
- Remove the roasting tray from the oven and place the roasted vegetables into the base of a slow cooker or large dutch oven. Add the sliced green apple, and top with the shanks. Pour over the kombu water, and if using a slow cooker, cook the shanks on high for 7-8 hours until very tender.
- If cooking in a dutch oven, turn the heat on the stove to the lowest possible setting and cook for 6-8 hours until tender.
- When the shanks are deliciously tender, remove them from the pot and set them aside to keep warm. Using a small ladle or large serving spoon, carefully skim the top of the liquid and remove and discard the fatty oil collected at the top. This will stop the gravy from being greasy.
- Place a large pot in the sink and add a colander or large sieve to the pot. Pour the contents of the slow cooker into the strainer, allowing the liquid to drain into the pot. Using a wooden spoon, push and mash the vegetables to extract as much flavour from them as possible and allow them to drip into the pot.
- Place the pot of liquid on to high heat, bring it to a boil and allow the sauce to bubble until it reduces down and thickens a little. Taste it for flavour. It should be rich, dark and robust. Add a little salt and pepper if required.
- Serve the shanks on mash or roast vegetables and spoon over the hot sticky gravy. Feel free to roughly chop some fresh thyme or rosemary and add to the shanks before serving.
You can store the shanks and sticky gravy for up to 1 week in the fridge or three months in the freezer. If you are fortunate enough, you will have leftover sauce that you can use with other protein like chicken or beef.