I love how beer transforms in flavour when cooked. The gentle toasted malty twang of a red ale turns into something very mellow and deep when simmering away for a couple of hours with delicious meaty lamb shanks.


  • 4 lamb shanks

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 400g (14oz) red onions, peeled and cut into wedges through the core

  • 100g (3½oz) celery, trimmed and cut at an angle into 1cm (½in) chunks

  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

  • 2 tbsp chopped sage

  • 250ml (9fl oz) red beer or ale

  • 500ml (18fl oz) light lamb or chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F), Gas mark 2.

  • 2.

    Trim some fat from the shanks and render it on a medium heat in a pot big enough to take the four shanks. Season the shanks with salt and pepper.

  • 3.

    Turn the heat up to high and fry the lamb shanks in the pot until golden on all sides. You might need to brown them two at a time. Remove the shanks, leaving any fat behind, then fry the onions, celery and garlic for a few minutes and season again.

  • 4.

    Return the shanks to the pot with the sage, beer or ale, stock and tomato purée. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2½–3 hours until the meat is succulent and almost falling off the bone.

  • 5.

    Serve on a bed of roast garlic mash or plain mashed potatoes with plenty of the braising liquid.

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