Rustic Italian lamb shanks with barley

Hearty and delicious.

  • 8 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Fall off the bone tender lamb shanks are slow cooked in a mixture of tomatoes, barley and spices for a truly heart meal for the family.


  • ½ cup (100g) pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 french-trimmed lamb shanks (800g)
  • 1 large brown onion (200g), sliced thinly
  • 2 stalks celery (300g), chopped coarsely
  • 2 medium carrots (240g), sliced thickly
  • 1 large red capsicum (350g), chopped coarsely
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • ⅓ cup (95g) tomato paste
  • 400 grams canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups (750ml) beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ⅓ cup (25g) grated parmesan


  • 1
    Rinse barley in a sieve under cold running water; drain well.
  • 2
    Heat half the oil in a 4.5-litre (18-cup) slow cooker on sear (HIGH) setting; cook lamb, in batches, turning, for 15 minutes, or until well browned. Remove from cooker.
  • 3
    Heat remaining oil in cooker on sauté (MEDIUM) setting; cook onion, celery, carrot and capsicum, stirring, for 5 minutes or until vegetables soften. Add garlic, fennel seeds, paprika and bay leaves; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add paste; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, stock and barley. Return lamb to cooker; bring to the boil.
  • 4
    Cook, covered, on low, for 8 hours. Discard bay leaves; season to taste.
  • 5
    Serve lamb mixture topped with parsley and parmesan.


Accompany with a bitter leaf salad.Not suitable to freeze.

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