Lamb shank and bean ragu

Who can resist fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks with flavoursome bean ragu? This incredible recipe is a perfectly comforting midweek meal that is exceptional served with polenta or creamy mashed potato.

By Sarah Murphy
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 20 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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  • 1/2 cup dried haricot beans
  • 1/2 cup dried borlotti beans
  • 2 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1.6 kilogram French-trimmed lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 fresh long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 400 gram can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 drained anchovies
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley


  • 1
    Place dried beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and soak for 8 hours or overnight.
  • 2
    Drain soaked beans, rinse under cold water, then drain. Place beans in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for15 minutes – beans will not be fully cooked at this stage. Drain.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • 4
    Place flour in a medium bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss lamb in flour, shaking away excess. Heat half the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium heat. Cook lamb in batches, turning, for 5 minutes until browned all over. Remove from dish. Wipe the dish clean, if necessary.
  • 5
    Heat remaining oil in dish over medium heat. Cook onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chilli, stirring, for 5 minutes until vegetables soften.
  • 6
    Return lamb to dish. Add beans, vinegar, tomatoes, anchovies, cinnamon, rosemary, wine and water. Bring to the boil. Transfer to oven. Cook, covered, turning shanks halfway through cooking, for 1 hour. Uncover and cook for a further 1 hour until meat is almost falling off the bone.
  • 7
    Just before serving, stir parsley through ragu.


  • Serve the ragu with polenta or creamy mashed potato. - You need to soak the dried beans for at least 8 hours before starting this recipe.