Braised Lamb Shanks with Barley Broth

This slow braise from Peter Gordon yields two courses: a hearty barley broth to start, then a bowl of herby pasta topped with the meltingly tender lamb meat
By Peter Gordon
Braised Lamb Shanks with Barley Broth
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 110 g barley
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 head fennel, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
  • 50 g pine kernels, toasted
  • 8 medium flat mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 80 ml soy sauce, (or 1 tsp salt)
  • 800 ml beef stock
  • 200 g pasta
  • handful fresh parsley


1. Put the barley in a small pan, cover with 3cm of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then drain.

2. Heat a heavy-based pot with a tight fitting lid that is large enough to hold all the lamb shanks. Add a few tablespoons of the olive oil and brown the lamb shanks all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan and add the onion and fennel. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly coloured. Add the fennel seeds, pine nuts and mushrooms and mix well, then stir in the barley, bay leaves, soy sauce (or salt) and stock. Bring to boil.

4. Return the lamb shanks to the pot. They should be covered in the liquid, if not add enough boiling water to just cover. Lower the heat, put the lid on and simmer for 1 ½ hours.

5. Taste the broth and season if necessary. Remove 1 cup of the broth and the lamb and keep warm. Serve the remaining barley broth as a first course in soup bowls.

6. For the main course, cook the pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water. Drain and toss with the reserved broth and the parsley. Serve it in pasta bowls with a lamb shank on top.

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