Share this recipe

  • Save to your scrapbook
  • Save to your scrapbook

    Lamb Shanks Eben’s Way

    This will be saved to your scrapbook

    You can also add it to one of your existing cookbooks


      Email this recipe to a friend

      Send a link to this recipe to a friend or your own e-mail address as a reminder

      * mandatory
    • Write note

      Add Note


      The recipe will be added to your scrapbook

    Lamb Shanks Eben’s Way

    The theory that chefs should sleep under the stove and never leave the kitchen has always seemed a rather limiting one to me. Get out and eat, I say. Always on the lookout, I encountered Eben, a South African writer cooking in Melbourne, and considered his food instantly rich with potential. Here is my interpretation of what we ate the night I met him. Serve with mash, cabbage and some quince cheese, which goes very well with the dish.

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 2 days marinating
    • Cooking time: 180 minutes
    • Total time: 3 hours 30 minutes, plus 2 days marinating 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 30 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • 4 large (rear) lamb shanks
    • 20 raisins
    • 4 garlic cloves, each sliced into 5
    • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 750ml red wine
    • 4 juniper berries
    • 4 allspice berries
    • 10 black peppercorns
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 150ml port


    1. Make 5 incisions into the lamb shanks. Press a raisin and a slice of garlic into each cut. Put the lamb shanks and all the other ingredients, except the port, in a plastic or china container (do not add salt at this stage). Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 (or up to 3) days, turning every half day or so.
    2. Heat the oven to 150°C/gas 3. Put the shanks and marinade in a heavy, non-reactive pan with a well-fitting lid, adding a good pinch of salt. Cover and put in the oven for about 3 hours, turning the shanks every 30 minutes. If they are cooking too fast, turn the oven temperature down: the secret is slow and low with this dish. The shanks should be thoroughly giving but still just holding on to the bone; when this is achieved, remove the shanks and keep warm. Add the glass of port to the juice in the pan and put over a high heat, reducing the sauce briskly for 5–10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Sieve the sauce over the shanks and serve.

    Your recipe note

    Edit your recipe note

    Drinks recommendation

    There's port, a bottle of red wine and some red-wine vinegar in the dish already, so the best partner needs to strike a mellow note. Classic rioja does just that – and it's great with lamb, too.


    Average user rating

    4 stars