Slow-cooker lamb shanks in a red wine gravy make a delicious alternative to a lamb roast. The slow-cooker cooks the lamb to tender perfection, while the red wine gravy is thick and luscious and packed with vegetables. All you need in addition is a pile of creamy mashed potatoes and you have a meal that will satisfy the most discerning of palates!
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I want you to close your eyes and imagine a perfectly cooked, tender lamb shank, perched on top of a pile of creamy mashed potatoes, covered in lashings of tasty red wine gravy, and with plenty of vegetables on the side. Are you drooling yet? I know I am.
This recipe for slow-cooker lamb shank in a red wine gravy is one of my absolute favourite dishes, for so many reasons.
Why I love this recipe
The main reason of course is because it tastes so good! But there are lots of other reasons too:
- Easy to prepare - all you have to do is peel a few vegetables and brown the lamb in a frying pan. Then it's into the slow-cooker with a generous amount of stock, and you can forget about it for a few hours while the slow-cooker works its magic.
- Versatile - this recipe is only a guide. You can vary the vegetables to suit whatever you happen to have in the refrigerator at the time. I've used carrots, onions, and celery as the main vegetables, but there's no stopping you from adding some button mushrooms, chopped red peppers, or sliced green beans for example.
- Elegant enough for a dinner party - this is a great dish to serve when you are looking to impress dinner guests. And as it's mainly hands-off cooking you'll be more relaxed when the guests arrive.
- No-fail recipe - I defy even the most inexperienced cook to make a mess of this recipe. It is guaranteed to turn out perfectly every single time.
- Energy-saving - it's a well-known fact that a slow-cooker uses far less energy than a conventional oven, so you'll save on energy costs. And in addition, a slow-cooker doesn't heat up the kitchen, which is a huge plus now that summer is on its way in the northern hemisphere.
- A one-dish meal - other than the mashed potatoes you don't need to serve any other vegetables with this dish because the vegetables are all cooked with the lamb. That said, however, I do like to serve something green alongside the lamb, such as broccoli, green beans, or leafy cabbage.
What you will need
As far as equipment goes you will need a slow-cooker, a sharp knife for cutting up the vegetables and a chopping board to protect your work surface. You will also need a frying pan for browning the lamb, and a saucepan for thickening the gravy.
**You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making lamb shanks in red wine gravy on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
This recipe serves 2 people, but you can easily adjust it to serve more by adding more lamb shanks and increasing the amount of vegetables and stock.
Lamb shanks - The number of lamb shanks you will need will depend both on the size of the shanks and also on your appetite! I would suggest allowing 225 grams (8 ounces) of lamb shank per adult. This may seem a lot, but there is quite a large bone running through the lamb shank.
Vegetables - sliced onions and diced carrots and celery. You can swap the vegetables out for other vegetables of your choice, but I would recommend keeping the onions as they provide a nice flavour to the stock. You will need one cup of sliced/diced vegetables per person.
Red wine - I used a South African Shiraz, but you could use any full-bodied red wine that you would actually drink. Don't use a poor quality wine, the flavour won't improve on cooking. My rule of thumb for cooking with wine is 'if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it'. If you don't want to use the wine you can substitute it with extra stock.
Garlic - I like to add garlic to lamb because they go so well together. If you don't have fresh garlic you can use ready-crushed garlic from a jar.
Tomato passata - this is just tomatoes that have been blended and strained to remove any seeds and bits of skin. It's available in most supermarkets alongside the canned tomatoes. If you can't find it you can substitute it with the equivalent amount of canned tomatoes.
Stock - I like to use vegetable stock rather than chicken or beef because I don't want to introduce any other meat flavours to this dish. If you don't have any fresh stock you can dissolve a stock cube in a cup of boiling water. The total amount of liquid (red wine, passata, and stock is 2 cups)
Cornflour - this is used for thickening the gravy. Depending on how thick the gravy turns out in the slow-cooker you may not need to use this. Cornflour is known as cornstarch in the US.
Salt - for seasoning.
Sunflower oil - for browning the lamb shanks.
What to do
The preparation takes about 20 minutes, then it's hands-off while the slow-cooker does the work!
Brown the lamb shanks in the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Use a pair of tongs to help you turn the shanks so that they brown all over. This will take 5 to 7 minutes.
Slice the onions, dice the celery and carrots and arrange them in your slow-cooker. Mince the garlic and sprinkle it on top.
Place the browned lamb shanks on top of the vegetables in the slow-cooker.
Dissolve a vegetable stock cube in a cup of boiling water and mix in the passata, the red wine, and the salt.
Pour the stock over the meat and vegetables.
Set the slow cooker as follows:
- High: 4-5 hours
- Medium: 5-6 hours
- Low: 6-8 hours
The lamb will be cooked when the meat has retracted from the bone and you can pierce it easily with a fork.
Make the gravy
You can make the gravy in one of two ways.
Pour the gravy through a sieve into a saucepan. Reserve the vegetables (carrots, onions and celery) and serve them separately. Leave the gravy on a medium heat to reduce until slightly thickened, or thicken the gravy with a mixture of cornflour and water.
Alternatively, you can thicken the vegetables in the gravy.
Pour the gravy and vegetables into a saucepan.
Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water and drizzle it into the pan over a low heat. Stir until thickened.
Serve the lamb shanks on a pile of creamy mashed potatoes, and pour over the gravy.
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Cook it in the oven
Of course, you don't need to use a slow cooker - you can cook this dish in the oven instead.
Follow the recipe, but instead of putting the meat and vegetables into a slow-cooker, layer them in a large casserole (with a tightly-fitting lid) instead.
Place the casserole in the oven and leave it on a medium heat (180C / 355F) for two and a half hours until the lamb is tender.
Take a look halfway through the cooking process and top up with extra stock if it seems to be drying out.
Make the gravy in the same way as the gravy made in a slow-cooker.
Freezing and storage
The cooked lamb shanks can be frozen. I would recommend placing the cooled lamb shanks into a suitable lidded plastic container and pouring the gravy over them before freezing.
To use, defrost in the refrigerator and then transfer the lamb and gravy to a saucepan and reheat until piping hot.
The cooked lamb shanks and gravy can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Pin for later
If you would like to make these lamb shanks in red wine gravy yourself, why not pin the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so that you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe to your Grow Me account by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
If you enjoyed these lamb shanks in red wine gravy, you may like to try some of my other lamb recipes:
- Lamb shanks with minted gravy
- Slow-cooker Irish lamb stew with barley
- South African lamb bredie (lamb stew)
- Barbeque lamb chops with minted yoghurt marinade
- Tandoori lamb chops with saag aloo and homemade naan
- Lancashire hotpot with lamb
Slow-cooker lamb shanks in red wine gravy
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 1 pound / 445 grams lamb shanks
- 1 medium onion finely sliced
- 1 large carrot sliced into rings
- 2 stalks celery diced
- ½ cup / 120 ml red wine
- ½ cup / 120 ml tomato passata
- 1 cup vegetable stock cube you can make it with a stock cube
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 - 2 tablespoons cornflour / cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Brown the lamb shanks in the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Use a pair of tongs to help you turn the shanks so that they brown all over. This will take 5 to 7 minutes.1 pound / 445 grams lamb shanks, 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Slice the onions and dice the celery and carrots. and arrange them in your slow-cooker. Mince the garlic and sprinkle it on top.1 medium onion, 1 large carrot, 2 stalks celery, 2 cloves garlic
- Place the browned lamb shanks on top of the vegetables in the slow-cooker.
- Dissolve a vegetable stock cube in a cup of boiling water and stir in the passata, the red wine, and the salt.½ cup / 120 ml red wine, ½ cup / 120 ml tomato passata, 1 cup vegetable stock cube, 1 teaspoon salt
- Pour the stock over the meat and vegetables.
- Cook in the slow-cooker as follows: - High: 4-5 hours - Medium: 5-6 hours - Low: 6-8 hoursThe lamb will be cooked when the meat has retracted from the bone and you can pierce it easily with a fork.
- Make the gravy in one of two ways -1. Pour the gravy through a sieve into a saucepan. Reserve the vegetables (carrots, onions and celery) and serve them separately. Leave the gravy on a medium heat to reduce until slightly thickened, or thicken the gravy with a mixture of cornflour and water.OR2. Pour the gravy and vegetables into a saucepan. Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water and drizzle it into the pan over a low heat. Stir until thickened.1 - 2 tablespoons cornflour / cornstarch
- Serve the lamb shanks on a pile of creamy mashed potatoes, and pour over the gravy.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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