When Brazil meets Australia Lamb Shanks

When Brazil meets Australia Lamb Shanks

Lamb in Brazil is rarely used in stews, normally it is done roasted or barbecued, and lamb shank is not a cut found there and I did not know about it until I moved to Australia. But the first time I tried I understand why Australians love it so much. There is something quite special about a slow-cooked tender lamb shank that falls from bone (and melts in the mouth), served with vegetables and a hearty sauce. It’s simply the perfect winter comforting meal.

I give the credit of this recipe to my lovely husband, who is a great cook and is a big fond of slow-cooking/one-pot dishes. I find this recipe special because he combines an Australian favourite, lamb shank, with some Brazilian touches: a broth that includes capsicum, which is a vegetable typically used in Brazilian stews and sauces, kale, one of the most adored vegetables in Brazil and a delicious garlic and rosemary cassava crumb.

His secret is to seal all the sides of the shanks very well before adding the stock. Then, the combination of white wine with a choice of herbs enhances perfectly the flavour of the lamb, plus the addition of fresh vegetables balances out the heartiness of the dish. For this recipe we like to add colourful radishes, carrots and kale that we bought at the Salamanca Market, a place where we are lucky to find vegetables of the highest quality and freshness. For best results try to source vegetables from your own local fresh produce market.

Toasted cassava flour can be easily bought online in Australia. If you are outside Australia, please check your local South American grocer or try online.


6 lamb shanks

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

500 mL white whine

1L chicken stock

2 rosemary sprigs

6 thyme sprigs

6 dried bay leaves

3 medium onions roughly chopped

10 peppercorns

2 capsicums roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves roughly chopped

1 bunch kale, stalks removed, roughly chopped

1 bunch radish

1 bunch multi-coloured baby carrots

Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Garlic and Rosemary Cassava Crumb:

4 tbs of extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, sliced

2 sprigs of rosemary

2 cups of toasted manioc flour*

Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

*Available online or from South American grocers 


1. Lightly season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a large casserole pan over medium heat and seal and caramelise all the sides of the shanks evenly. Transfer the shanks onto a plate.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tbs of olive oil, then fry the onions, stirring for two minutes. Add the garlic and capsicum and cook, stirring for a further 2-3 minutes.

3. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, lamb shanks and pour the stock and wine. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan leaving the lid just a little bit open and simmer for 2.5-3 hours or until meat is tender and falling off the bone.

4. For the crumb, in a medium frying pan heat the oil over medium heat and fry the garlic and rosemary, stirring for 2 minutes.  Pour in the manioc flour and stir to combine. Remove sprig and season with salt and pepper.

6. Carefully transfer the shanks onto a plate. Strain the sauce, discard the solids and pour the broth and transfer shanks back into the pan. Bring the sauce to the boil over medium heat, add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes, then add radish and cook for  2 minutes, finally add the kale, and cook for a further minute. Serve the shanks and vegetables with broth and the cassava crumbs on the side, mixing a little bit of the crumbs with the broth as you eat.

Serves: 6