Lamb shanks in red wine and balsamic vinegar

Jax Hamilton - Masterchef NZ finalist

We are real Masterchef addicts in this household. With Jax Hamilton and Nadia Lim in the running to be ‘New Zealand’s next Masterchef’ there’s great debate as to which of the two will be the ultimate winner.

One thing was pretty obvious – Stu just didn’t have what it took. Nadia presented a fabulous combination of tasty and tasteful dishes, while Jax was more successful at the down home ‘comfort food’ than poor old Stu.

Jax’s lamb shanks looked delicious. Here’s her recipe with a few modifications from me.

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 90 Minutes
Serves 4


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • flour for dusting, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium sized red onions, chopped (or use a dozen or more shallots)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 springs of rosemary, picked, chopped
  • 160ml good quality red wine
  • 120ml balsamic vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serve the shanks with 
garlic mash or kumara puree, and  
blanched green beans – or any other combination of vegetables that you like and that go well with rich meat.


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove any sinew from the lamb shanks and dust with the seasoned flour.

2. Place a large, deep, ovenproof frying pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Place the lamb shanks in the frying pan, two at a time and colour on all sides.  Remove from the frying pan and set aside.

3. In the same frying pan, cook the onions slowly until the juices have reduced and onions are brown in colour. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, and then add rosemary.  Cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

4. Turn the heat up and add the red wine. Reduce for one minute then add the balsamic vinegar.  Reduce again for another two minutes.

5. Place the lamb shanks back in the pan and cover with onion mixture. Place lid on pan and place in the oven. Cook for 90 minutes, or until the meat is tender and falling from the bone.

Serve with your vegetables.

My guess is that if Nadia cooks up a storm like she did last night then she’s going to take the trophy. But we’ve all seen her disasters and her bad time management. Jax is a little more consistent, and maybe a little safer in her recipes. But if the taste is there then it’s going to be a good fight.

And I think that as a marketable commodity (after all that’s what the competition is about) Jax is the best bet for longevity and continued sales.

Plus she cooks great meat dishes like the one above. What’s not to like!

One comment

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