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Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with Tamarind and Dates

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

by Ali Bilton from Ali Bilton Cooks

A good few years ago I did a “stage” at the great Peter Gordon’s restaurant, The Providores on Marylebone High Street. His kitchen is in a very hot basement, but it ran like clockwork, everyone worked seamlessly together, no raised voices and excellent food. This is my version of one of his recipes, tamarind coming to the fore again, beautifully offsetting the richness of the lamb. Be hungry for this one.

Serves 4


4 lamb shanks

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 red onions peeled and cut into wedges

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 carrots, peeled and grated

110ml red wine

2 sprigs rosemary

1 small red chilli, deseeded and sliced

40ml balsamic vinegar

40ml soy sauce

110ml tamarind paste

vegetable stock, approximately 500ml.

170g pitted dates, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 170C/340F/Gas3.

Brown the lamb shanks all over in 1 tbsp of the rapeseed oil in a deep casserole dish. Remove and keep warm.

Lightly brown the onions and garlic with the remaining, return the lamb to the pan, add the wine, and bring to the boil.

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the dates, with enough stock to cover and place in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove from the oven, skim as much fat as you can from the top, then add the dates. Return to the oven for 20 minutes. Skim the fat off again if necessary.

Serve with roasted vegetables and some crisp green beans.

Roast Vegetables

I have put here a selection of winter veg, but in the summer you can use courgettes, peppers, new potatoes, cherry tomatoes and anything else you fancy. Try and source the smoked rapeseed oil from

Serves 4


3tbsp smoked rapeseed oil (or any rapeseed oil)

250g white potato or sweet potato scrubbed and cut into chunks

1 carrot peeled and chopped into thick batons

125g swede, peeled and cut into chunks

½ butternut squash, peeled and deseeded and cut into chunks

1 parsnip, peeled and cut into thick batons

3 stalks thyme

5 cloves garlic, bashed


Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas5.

In an ovenproof pan, heat the smoked oil and quickly brown the potato, carrot, swede, butternut squash and parsnip. Add the thyme and garlic and place in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning them over after 30 minutes of cooking.

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