Braised lamb shanks with cumin and flageolet beans

Braised lamb shanks with cumin and flageolet beans

Kitchin Suppers
Laura Edwards

Lamb shanks are one of the most popular of the less expensive, flavourful cuts of lamb. With long, slow cooking, they become meltingly tender. Here I’m braising them with flageolet beans and tomatoes for a lovely comfort dish. If you’re planning ahead, rather than using tinned beans, soak 200 g dried flageolets in cold water to cover overnight, then cook in water to cover for an hour before draining and adding to the pan with the tomatoes.


Quantity Ingredient
4 lamb shanks
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Bouquet garni
2 tablespoons tomato puree
300ml white wine
500g tinned chopped tomatoes, (full-flavoured fresh or tinned)
500ml Lamb stock
or 500ml Chicken stock
400g tinned flageolet beans, drained, or cooked dried beans, see above
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


  1. Heat the oven to 160°C. Season the lamb shanks well all over with salt and pepper. Heat a deep heavy-based ovenproof sauté pan (or flameproof casserole) over a medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Brown the lamb shanks in the pan (in two batches, or one at a time if that’s easier) to colour all over. Place the browned shanks on a plate on the side.
  2. Return the pan to a medium-low heat and add a little more oil if needed, followed by the onion, sliced fennel, garlic, fennel seeds and ground cumin. Add the bouquet garni and sweat gently for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the white wine and let bubble to reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil, then stir in the flageolet beans. Replace the lamb shanks in the pan, immersing them in the tomato mixture.
  4. Put a lid on the pan and place in the oven. Cook for 1 ½ hours until the meat is very soft and starting to fall from the bone.
  5. Place a lamb shank in each warm serving bowl and spoon on the tomato and flageolet bean mixture. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.
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