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Braised Lamb Shanks
With Cacao Mash And Gremolata

Prep Time:30 minutes
Cooking Time:2 - 3 hours

This dish screams Spring and Easter. In this recipe, the cacao brings lamb shanks and potato mash to a whole other level.

I would suggest using a 100% cacao like  the Carenero which deep nutty and slightly spicy notes, reveal a whole other layer of flavours.

The gremolata perfectly refreshes the dish while the sauce harmonises the different elements. Don’t be surprised if you are asked for multiple servings!


For the lamb shanks

4 lamb shanks

3 tbsp olive oil

4 shallots, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 stick celery, finely chopped

1/2 carrot finely chopped

100g streaky bacon, finely chopped

400g/14oz canned whole tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

½ bottle of white wine

500 ml of veal, chicken or lamb stock

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

50g grated 100% cacao. Willie suggests Carenero

salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the gremolata

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest


For the garnish

4 baby leeks

100g bacon cut in strips,

olive oil,

knob butter



For the cacao mash

600g King Edward potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

pinch salt

200g salted butter

100g milk

20g 100% cacao grated, Willie suggests Carenero

salt and freshly ground black pepper




Preheat the oven to 180C
Prepare the lamb by using a sharp knife to loosen the meat a little from the bone. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole on the hob and brown off  the lamb shanks
Remove the shanks from the casserole and set aside. Turn down the heat and add the shallots, garlic, celery, carrot and bacon and fry for 3-5 minutes until soft.
Add wine and bring to the boil then add the herbs, tomato puree, stock and return to the boil.
Return the lamb shanks to the casserole, bring to a simmer, then cover and place in the oven 2-3 hours or until lamb is tender and falling off  the bone.
Remove the lamb and leave to rest.
Place the casserole over a medium heat and cook unti the sauce is reduce by half, skimming off any fat. Season with salt and pepper and the grated cacao.
For the cacao mash, place the potatoes into a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt, place on the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender.
Drain well and return to the pan over a low heat for a few seconds to remove any excess moisture.
Using a potato masher or ricer, mash well, adding the melted butter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cacao.
For the garnish, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the vegetables for about 3 minutes. Then add a knob of butter.
For the gremolata combine all the ingredients.
To serve put each lamb shank on a small mound of cacao mash, pour over the sauce, add the garnish, and sprinkle over the gremolata

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