Horopito Cocoa Crusted Lamb Shanks

11:30 am on 18 April 2011

BrasatoI long ago discovered good quality cocoa adds a depth of colour and flavour to slow cooked meats.

Lamb shanks have long been a favourite with my family and we enjoy the aroma that permeates the kitchen when I cook this dish. It can stretch to as many lamb shanks as you want by adjusting the quantities. Horopito has a hot peppery flavour and it complements lemon. I am delighted that there are now New Zealand condiments from our native plants that we can add to recipes.

(Serves 4)


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 40g flour
  • 40 g dark cocoa
  • 2 dessertspoons horopito
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons odourless oil eg. canola
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 200ml white wine
  • 375ml beef stock
  • 1 x 440g can Italian tomatoes
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to180°Celsius.

Mix the flour and cocoa together in a bag, place the lamb shanks in the bag and toss in the flour cocoa mixture.

Braise the lamb shanks in the oil and place in the roasting dish.

Gently fry the chopped onions, carrot and garlic and then add to the lamb in the roasting dish with the zest of one lemon Add the wine stock, horopito and juice from one lemon, position the shanks side by side, cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

Remove the lamb shanks and place on a serving dish and cover with foil.

Place the roasting dish with the contents on an element and add the mashed canned tomatoes, reduce the liquid by about 1/3 add the olives and heat through. Taste and season with salt and pepper and pour the sauce over the lamb shanks.

Serve with green beans and mashed potatoes.

Wines to complement this recipe

Pete's Shed 2009
Conde de Valdemar Crianza 2006

From Nine To Noon

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