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Emigrated from America to New Zealand and never looked back. Couldn't have asked for a better husband, family & life!

A Kiwi classic for sure, is a meal of lamb shanks served with rice or potatoes, fresh veggies and of course a mint sauce. Now, being very na├»ve in the Kiwi ways before I arrived here, I thought mint sauce and mint jelly were the same thing. I pictured this congealed green sugary slime and could not fathom why on earth anyone would put it on his or her meat (unless, in the case of lamb, to cover up the horrible cooking smell as the lanolin’ish aroma wafted about the kitchen). In any case I was mistaken. The true mint sauce is more of a thin minty vinaigrette…sort of.

To kill the cooking lamb smell, I use coffee and red wine as a marinade with other spices and onion, which at least leaves the kitchen aromas more tempting to my palate. The mint sauce accompaniment is actually quite mild and a nice touch. I have always loved mint as a sweet food…in hard candies or combined with chocolate, or even in biscuits (cookies to the yankee doodles out there). It wasn’t until a dear Vietnamese friend introduced it to me as a savoury herb, that I began to open my eyes and consider its versatility.

I suppose no matter what your take is on lamb or on mint, you should try it at least once made as I have done here to decide for yourself.

Lastly, there are two schools of thought on how shanks should be cooked. They can either be roasted in the oven or, left in a Crockpot until they fall apart. Either way, I’d eat them but hubby likes his slow cooked to perfection. I’ll describe both methods and you can choose for yourself.


3-4 Lamb Shanks (approx 2 kilos/4.5 Lbs)
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 Cup Strong Black Coffee
(instant or freshly brewed)
1 Cup Red Wine
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
2 Sprigs Rosemary
1 ½ Tsp Dry Mustard Powder
2 Tbsp Flour
Salt & Pepper


Marinate the shanks (overnight if possible) in the first 7 ingredients inside of a Ziploc freezer bag.

Remove the shanks and either put them into a roasting dish (one that has a cover) or, into the Crockpot with about a cup of the marinade.

In a small dish, mix the mustard powder, flour, salt & pepper together, then using a small spoon or sieve, gently sift the mixture evenly over the meat.

If you are oven roasting, the oven needs to be preheated to 175 C (350 F) and you cook them uncovered for the first half hour, then cover and continue until they are done. Below is a guideline for cooking time:
  • Rare 20-25 minutes per 500 Gms (per 1 Lb)
  • Medium 30-35 minutes per 500 Gms (per 1 Lb)
  • Well Done 40 minutes per 500 Gms (per 1 Lb)

Now, if you chose to use the Crockpot method, you still sprinkle them with the flour & spice mixture, but cover the pot immediately and cook about 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. You will know when they are done because the meat will fall off of the bone.


¼ Cup Mint, finely chopped
½ Cup Boiling Water (more or less)
½ Cup White Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar
Salt to taste


In a small measuring cup, put in your mint and cover with boiling water only just to the ½ Cup mark.

Now add the vinegar, sugar and salt and mix well.

That’s it – couldn’t be simpler really!

Now serve up your lamb shanks with fluffy rice or your favourite potato preparation and a green veg. You’ll have a beautiful and tasty healthy meal.

1 Thoughts & Remarks:

Cheryl said...

I used to HATE Lamb until our neighbor gave us half a freaking lamb. I now love it, shanks especially!