Oven-braised lamb shanks with creamy polenta

Oven-braised lamb shanks with creamy polenta

Something for Everyone
Ben Dearnley

These slow-cooked lamb shanks are just the thing for a weekend lunch or dinner. Because they cook for over two hours, you can make them ahead of time and sit and relax in the lead-up to dinner. You can serve with mash instead of the polenta.


Quantity Ingredient
4-8 lamb shanks
35g plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
310ml reduced-salt chicken stock, (see note)
or 310ml reduced-salt beef stock, (see note)
or 310ml reduced-salt vegetable stock, (see note)
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 lemon, juiced
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped, (optional)
4 thyme sprigs
1 bunch baby carrots, stems trimmed
flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve

Creamy polenta

Quantity Ingredient
750ml milk
100g polenta
60g cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Dust the lamb shanks with flour, shaking off any excess.
  2. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over high heat. Add the shanks, in batches if necessary, and cook until brown all over. Set aside. Reduce the heat to low–medium and cook the celery, onion and garlic for 5 minutes, or until softened.
  3. Increase the heat, add the balsamic vinegar and boil briskly for a few seconds. Add the stock, tomatoes and lemon juice and bring back to the boil. Add the anchovy (if using), then return the shanks to the dish with the thyme sprigs. Cover, and cook in the oven for 1 ½ hours. Add the carrots and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender. Remove the lid and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the polenta, pour the milk into a large saucepan with 500 ml water and bring to the boil. Gradually add the polenta to the pan, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, or until the polenta thickens. Stir in the cheese until melted and combined.
  5. Divide the polenta among four serving dishes. Top with the lamb shanks and carrots, and spoon over a little of the cooking juices from the casserole dish. Scatter over the parsley leaves and serve.

Baby’s serve

  • For a younger baby, blend together some lamb (no bone), carrots, polenta and cooking juices until smooth. For an older baby, keep the purée more textured and give him a short-handled spoon, or let him pick up pieces of lamb and carrot in his hands.

Toddler’s serve

  • Serve as for an older baby, above.


  • When making soups for your children, always use a reduced-salt, preferably home-made, stock. Babies’ developing kidneys, in particular, can’t handle much salt and it can cause them to become dehydrated.
Something for Everyone
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