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Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks

To paraphrase Brick Tamland from the movie “Anchorman”: I love Lamb. It might be my favourite meat, which is saying something as I don’t think I’ll ever meet a, erm, meat I didn’t like. It’s wonderful in a roast, fantastic in kebabs, and amazing in a curry. But, like any meat, it has to be cooked perfectly or it can be as tough as old boots.

One of my favourite cuts of lamb to cook is the Lamb Shank, because as it’s on the bone it has a wonderful flavour and is perfectly suited to slow cooking so it’s lovely and tender and falls off the bone. This is my recipe for Lamb Shanks which can be prepared the night before you want to eat, and then put on early in the day so it can cook long and slow all day long. Plus the broth and the juices from the meat can be turned into a wonderful gravy. Combine it with mint sauce and serve with roast potatoes and vegetables as a great alternative to a Sunday roast.

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 8 to 10 hours


  • 4 Lamb Shanks
  • 2tbsp Cumin Seeds or Ground Cumin
  • 2tbsp Coriander Seeds or Ground Coriander
  • 1/2tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1tsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 1tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp Onion Powder
  • 2tbsp Soft Brown Sugar
  • 3tsp Rosemary
  • 5tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Bulb Garlic
  • 1 litre Chicken or Beef Stock



Place a pan on a very low heat and gently toast the star anise, cumin, coriander, mustard and fennel seeds for 1 to 2 minutes until you can smell the aroma from the seeds. Don't toast them for too long or they'll burn.


Grind the seeds in a pestle and mortar until they all become a fine powder, and then place these into a small bowl.


Add the mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar and rosemary to the bowl and then add the olive oil and mix until it becomes a thin paste.


Rub the paste all over the lamb shanks, coating them well, and then place them into a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight to absorb all the flavours.


The next morning, take the lamb out of the fridge and turn your slow cooker onto the low heat setting and allow it to heat up.


Cut the onion in half, and then chop both halves into thin slices and place into the slow cooker.


Peel the bulb of garlic, removing the skin from all the cloves, and then place all of the cloves into the slow cooker, whole.


Place the lamb shanks into the slow cooker, spreading them out as evenly as you can, and then pour over the stock. If there's not quite enough stock to cover the lamb shanks, add a little boiling water until they're covered.


Place the lid on the slow cooker, and leave them to cook in the slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours. 8 should be plenty, but I left mine for 10 and they were wonderfully tender and falling off the bone.


Gently remove the lamb shanks from the stock and leave them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, covering gently with a little foil, before serving.


Rather than wasting the stock that the lamb was cooking in, you can take around 600 to 700ml of this and skim off as much of the fat as you can.


Mix 30g of cornflower with a tablespoon of water, and then add this to a saucepan over a low heat, and then gradually pour in the stock mixture until you get a wonderfully flavoursome, thick gravy to serve with your lamb.

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