Anna Hansen Welsh Lamb Shank with soft Polenta and Persian Lime Pesto


  • 4 Welsh Lamb shanks
  • 120ml of yoghurt
  • 2 Persian limes, ground
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1 fennel, finely diced
  • 300ml of red wine
  • 300ml of dark chicken stock, or veal stock
  • Olive oil
  • 600g of chicken stock
  • 150g of polenta
  • 3 tbsp of natural yoghurt, heaped
  • 1 tbsp of preserved lemon, chopped
  • 50g of Parmesan, grated
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 Persian limes, dried
  • 1 bunch of parsley, blanched and cooled
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 30g of flaked almonds, toasted
  • 1 handful of parsley, chopped


  1. To make the marinade, combine the rosemary, lime and yoghurt. Make sure the lamb shanks are thoroughly covered with the marinade and then cover and leave it to marinate in the fridge for around 12-24 hours. Remove the lamb one hour before cooking.
  2. Set the oven to 150˚C/gas mark 2.
  3. Put a large, ovenproof saucepan on a high heat. Add some olive oil and the marinated lamb shanks to the pan to seal and cook until completely golden. When finished, remove from the heat and put to one side.
  4. Meanwhile, put another pan on a medium heat and add some olive oil, carrots, shallots, leek and fennel. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until colourless and soft, then remove from the heat and put to one side.
  5. Deglaze the shank pan using red wine, taking care to scrape off all the caramelised crust from the base of the pan as this contains a lot of flavour from the marinade.
  6. Add the cooked vegetables and dark chicken stock to the pan along with the shanks and place it in the oven to braise for 90-120 minutes. When cooked, the meat will be soft, tender and just beginning to come away from the bone. Take the shanks out of the oven and allow them to cool in the liquid.
  7. Once cool, take the shanks out of the pan, before returning the pan to the heat. Bring the contents up to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
  8. Add the contents of the pan to a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste and transfer to a clean saucepan along with the shanks, ready to warm up later.
  9. Make the pesto by adding the dried limes, parsley, garlic and lime juice to a food processor and blitz until it forms a paste. Leave the paste in a dish until required.
  10. For the polenta, boil the stock and gradually add in the polenta, while whisking constantly. The polenta will bubble and spit as it thickens, so be careful.
  11. Cook the polenta for 5-10 minutes until smooth and soft. Take the polenta off the heat, mix in the Parmesan, yoghurt and preserved lemon and season to taste. Keep warm.
  12. Before serving, re-heat the lamb shanks in the sauce at a light simmer. Put some of the polenta in the base of a shallow bowl or small cast iron dish. Add the lamb shanks, sauce and a helping of pesto. Finish with a dusting of toasted almonds and parsley.

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