Braised Lamb Shanks with Dried Plum Pesto

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • For the lamp shanks
    • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
    • 4 lamb shanks
    • 12 shallots, peeled and left whole
    • 1 head of garlic, peeled into cloves then halved
    • 2 carrots, peeled, cut in 3 or 4 large pieces each
    • 2 parsnips, peeled, cut in 3 or 4 large pieces each
    • 1 turnip, peeled, chopped into large chunks
    • 12 baby potatoes, whole
    • 1- 750ml bottle of your favourite red wine
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 sprigs of rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon of juniper berries
    • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • For the dried plum pesto
    • ½ cup dried plums (prunes!)
    • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
    • ¼ cup of olive oil
    • ½ cup of pine nuts
    • ½ cup of Parmesan cheese
    • 2 large bunches of fresh basil leaves
    • ¼ teaspoon of salt


  1. For the lamp shanks
    1. Place a large Dutch oven or stew pot over medium-high heat with enough oil to fill the bottom with a thin pool. Carefully add the lamb shanks to the hot oil and brown well on both sides.  Be patient! This is the only opportunity you’ll have to add the rich flavours of browned meat to the dish before the liquids are added.
    2. When the shanks are nicely browned, pile in the shallots, garlic, carrots, parsnips, turnip and potatoes. Add a full bottle of red wine along with the bay leaf, rosemary, juniper berries and salt. Bring the works to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer, cover and continue simmering over the lowest heat until the shanks are fork tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Place a shank in each serving bowl, spoon in lots of vegetables and pour in steaming ladlefuls of the aromatic broth. Serve and share.
  2. For the dried plum pesto
    1. Pile all the ingredients into your handy food processor and pulse them together just long enough to form a smooth chunky pesto with a bit of texture, not a smooth puree.