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Friday, January 28, 2011

Lamb Shanks Slow Cooked over a Fire

Sometimes even well-laid plans come adrift. 

I have been wanting to try cooking lamb-shanks over a fire, so our holiday in the Drakensberg seemed like a good opportunity.  I stocked up on lamb-shanks for two, amongst other goodies, and off we went. One thing I forgot though - my big black flat bottomed cast iron pot.  Disaster!  How on earth was I going to cook two large, very awkardly shaped pieces of lamb, bone included?

Well, 'n boer maak a plan' as they say they the classics (in SA, anyway).  I did have a cast iron frying pan, and several tin-foil pie dishes, which I use when I'm making braai-packs.  So, we decided to fry everything up in the frying pan, and cook it in a tinfoil 'packet'.  And it came out so well, I want to try making it again - but maybe I'll use a pot this time!  Although - the clean-up was so easy,  all we had to do was chuck the tinfoil in the bin, and wash a few plates and things.

Here's the recipe, I hope you'll give it a try - when you have the leisure time to sit by the fire for the 3 to 4 hours this will take to cook!  Pour another drink, sit back and relax!

Lamb Shanks Cooked over a Fire

feeds 2 hungry adults (we ate late!)

2 lamb shanks
oil for frying
1 packet bacon braai rashers (thick cut bacon), sliced
1 large onion, sliced roughly
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 glass of red wine
1 tin of chopped tomatoes, with their juice
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Start by making a fire, and heating the oil in the pan/pot
  • Fry the lamb shanks until they are well-browned, then transfer them to a tinfoil dish

  • Add the bacon pieces and fry until all the fat is rendered, spoon them over the lambshanks

  • Fry the onions in the bacon fat, add the garlic when the onions are softened, and fry together
  • Add the glass of red wine, the tin of tomatoes, the sugar, rosemary, seasoning and mustard, and bring to the boil
  • Pour the tomato mixture over the meat

  • Wrap a large piece of tinfoil around the entire tray, and seal loosely
  • Place on the braai grid, and keep the flames small but steady

  • Cook for at least 3 hours (pour several more drinks), checking regularly, add a little water if needed
  • Serve on mash or polenta - we had ours on mushy veggies, one of my favourite braai dishes:  boil together peeled, chopped potatoes, onions and garlic, and mixed veggies (whatever you have on hand, butternut, broccoli, carrots, even a pack of frozen mixed veggies) until soft, drain well, add a heap of butter, salt and lots of freshly ground pepper, mash together.  Delicious, I promise!
And here's the result - gorgeously tender, melt-in-the-mouth pieces of lamb in a rich bacon/tomato/herby sauce.  YUM, pretty good braai food!


We had this dinner by candlelight in our caravan - I do love camping!!!


  1. Oh my goodness! To me lamb shanks is like that little black dress, or choosing the chick flick when you go to the movies - you can't go wrong. This looks gorgeous, thanks very much.

  2. It looks delicious and your pics are stunning!!