Make this: Ricarda's 6-spice confit lamb shank

Fill your home with holiday scents — executive chef Julien Laffaruge’s 6-spice braised lamb shanks fall off the bone and are surprisingly easy to make.

Serves 4

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 2.5 hours

Lungarotti L'U - Sangiovese/Merlot 2018, Umbria


Brilliant and intense ruby red. Complex and warm with notes of black cherries and brandied fruit. Hints of coffee, cocoa and sweet spices. Good structure supported by fresh acidity and harmonious tannins. Fresh red fruit on the finish with persistent and pleasant softness. Pair with everything from tempura to goulash, barbecues, hamburgers, pork or pizza., $19.99

This holiday, we want two things — delicious food and maximum relaxation. To achieve this, we're looking for show-stopping meals, with bold rich flavours, that taste incredible — but weren't actually that hard to make.

Our salvation has arrived in the form of this 6-spice confit lamb shank recipe from Ricarda's. Executive chef Julien Laffaruge shares a recipe that braises the meat in a medley of holiday spices, for a rich, tender lamb dish that will impress even the most seasoned of guests. 

The saucy, fall-off-the-bone meal goes with a variety of sides, but chef recommends serving with couscous, rice, mashed potato, fregola or even pasta. On the vegetable front, baked carrot, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushroom or rapini works best.

And, because you deserve it, we've included a suggested pairing so you can get things in the oven and relax with a glass (or two) of something special before dinner is served.


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 4 star anise cloves
  • 4 pieces of whole cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 good pinch of saffron
  • 1 Tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp of aged black balsamic
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 1 cup of red wine (pinot noir)
  • 1 good lamb or beef stock
  • ⅓ cup dry raisin
  • ⅓ cup of dry apricot (slices)
  • 1 lemon zest, plus the juice
  • 2 oranges zest, peeled, quartered and cored, plus the juice
  • 10 grams of dark chocolate (64 per cent)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. Wash and pat dry lamb shanks with paper towel, then toss the lamb shank with salt and cumin.
  3. Heat a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat. Sear all the faces of the shanks in the hot oil until it is browned on all sides. Repeat with the remaining shanks and oil. Transfer to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm, and set aside.
  4. To the pan add the juices, sauté the raisin, apricot, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom and remaining cumin, saffron, ginger, cloves and thyme. Then add the honey, caramelize, and add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
  5. Return the shanks back into the pot. Sprinkle with flour, toss well and cook for 4-5 minutes to brown the flour.
  6. Add orange jus and zest, beef stock, wine, tomato paste, bouillon and herbs. Bring to a simmer over low heat.
  7. Cover the pot and transfer to the lowest shelf in your oven and cook for 2.5 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender (adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly).
  8. Gently transfer the shanks onto a plate; tent to keep warm.
  9. Discard the whole pieces of spice, thyme and garlic from the sauce and place pot onto the stove. Simmer sauce over medium heat until thickened to your desired consistency add the dark chocolate to your desired taste. 
    *If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock. If the sauce is too thin, boil it over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until reduced to the right consistency.
  10. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper, if desired. Add the shanks back into the pot of sauce.

TIPS: Make in advance and serve the following day by allowing the casserole to cool completely, cover and refrigerate.
 On the day of serving, remove from the refrigerator for at least an hour before reheating. Place over medium-low heat and let simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, basting the shanks and vegetables with the sauce. 

NOTE: This recipe is also delicious with duck legs.