Recipe: slow-roasted balsamic lamb

I’d normally use lamb shanks in this family favourite dish, but decided to try a lamb leg for a change. I reckon I’ll stick with the shanks in future – or perhaps a lamb shoulder – as I didn’t get the same sort of melt-off-the-bone effect with a leg. While I had to carve the meat to serve it, the flavours were still delicious. I made it in the slow-cooker because I wanted something I could switch on and go, but the recipe works really well in the oven too. Just prep as you would for the slow cooker, then put it in an 180C oven for 90 to 120 minutes, stirring in the cannellini beans for the last 30 minutes.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 lamb shanks/large lamb leg/large lamb shoulder
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 3 sticks celery, chopped into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g cans tomatoes
  • 150ml balsamic vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.

METHOD: Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan. Brown the shanks/leg/shoulder. Set aside. Saute the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until they begin to soften. Add to the slow-cooker, together with the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Stir. Add the lamb. Cook on low for 8 hours. Add the cannellini beans. Cook for 30 minutes. Serve with soft polenta, cous cous or rice.

NOTE: I served the lamb with cheesy polenta. I brought 3 cups of water to the boil, slowly added 1 cup of polenta and stirred until the polenta was soft. I removed it from the heat and stirred in 1/2 a cup of cream and 1/2 cup of parmesan. Yum!

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