PK Makes River Cottage’s Citrus Braised Lamb Shanks

Everyone has a dish that they feel slightly guilty about. Guilty because somehow it turns out exceptionally good every single time.  This is mine and it has magical powers :).

It is originally from the hit Channel 4 series and books, ‘River Cottage’ and I merely adapted it to work in a slow cooker. I like dishes that are a bit different and I prefer this lighter white wine and citrus version over traditional red wine based lamb shank recipes.

River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstool can’t have known its romantic power when he added this dish to his cookbook though, surely not. It was the first meal I cooked for my wife to be and she fell madly in love with me. That’s the magical bit and might contradict her version of events :).

You will be:

  1. Sweating the vegetables in the slow cooker.
  2. Browning the lamb shanks and deglazing the frypan.
  3. Cooking it slow.
  4. Serving.

You will need:

  • Ingredients:
    • 4 lamb shanks
    • 2 carrots
    • 1 large brown onion
    • 2 celery sticks
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • a few sprigs of fresh thyme or lemon thyme
    • a small handful of parsley or celery leaves, chopped
    • 1 large orange
    • 1 large lemon
    • half a bottle of white wine (I used a Sauvignon blanc)
    • 1 cup of home made stock (I used chicken stock as that was all I had) or 1 cup water
    • several slugs of olive oil
    • a good slug of tomato paste
    • ground rock salt to taste
    • cracked black peppercorns to taste
    • 0.5 Tbsp whole black peppercorns (optional)
    • A handful of small or chopped mushrooms (optional)
  •  Equipment:
    • a chopping board
    • a long sharp knife
    • kitchen tongs
    • a wooden spoon
    • a citrus zester
    • a citrus juicer
    • a large frypan
    • a slow cooker


Sweating the vegetables in the slow cooker

  1. Put a slug of olive oil into your slow cooker and turn it on high, lid on.
  2. Rough chop the:
    • 2 carrots.
    • 2 celery sticks.
    • handful of parsley or celery leaves.
  3. Finely slice the 1 large brown onion.
  4. Finely chop the 2 garlic cloves.
  5. Add the above to your slow cooker to start them softening up, lid on (mix everything around occasionally).
  6. Once the onions have started to soften, throw in the 2 bay leaves and the sprigs of thyme.
  7. If you like a bit of peppery kick, chuck 0.5 Tbsp of black peppercorns in too.
  8. Juice and then zest the lemon and the orange and add to the slow cooker (retain some of the mixed juice and zest for serving time).
  9. Add the 1 cup of stock or 1 cup of water and mix gently.
  10. Add a good slug of tomato paste.
  11. Add a handful of small mushrooms now if you are using them.

I love seeing ingredients together like this:


Nice and soft:



Browning the lamb shanks and deglazing the frypan

  1. Season the 4 lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
  2. Chuck another slug of olive oil into the pan and bring to medium heat.
  3. Slightly brown every surface of the shanks. Yep, even the ends with a bit of creative meat stacking :).
  4. Then add them to the slow cooker.
  5. I now deglaze the frypan with half a bottle of white wine. When boiling I then add it to the slow cooker.
  6. If the slow cooker looks a bit full don’t panic. Everything will shrink down as it cooks :).


Cooking it slow

  1. Turn your slow cooker to medium and cook for at least 2 hours using kitchen tongs to periodically move the shanks around.
  2. Now you can keep the slow cooker on medium for speed or turn it down to low for a slower cook (my preference).
  3. When the meat is literally falling of the bone, when you are giving it a gentle mix with the kitchen tongs, it is ready.


I generally serve the shanks on a bed of mashed potato with some steamed green vegetables alongside. This time though I cooked my PK’s NoRecipe Oven Baked Potatoes and served the shanks on the bone with some greens.

Remember how we set aside some mixed zest and juice? Sprinkle a bit of the zest and then drizzle some juice over each serve to freshen the citrus flavours and aromas.

On or off the bone this dish is visually appealing:


20160710 lamb shank off bone.jpg

Make this dish for someone you love,



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