Lamb agrodolce

By Katie Ardington
  • Facebook
  • Tweet
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Print



  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Olive oil, to sauté


  • 1 cup (240 ml) flour
  • 1 cup (240 ml) cocoa powder
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (950 ml) water or beef stock
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) sugar
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) juniper berry, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) black peppercorns, crushed


  • 1 ounce (28 g) dark chocolate, grated
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) toasted pine nuts


  1. Heat olive oil in a large casserole pan over a medium heat.


  1. In a bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, and pepper to make a dredge.
  2. Dust lamb shanks with the dredging mixture, tapping off any excess. 


  1. Sear the lamb shanks in the casserole until evenly browned, remove and set aside.  Reserve the pan and oil over the heat.


  1. In the hot pan, add the red onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, and sauté until the vegetables have softened.
  2. Add water or beef stock, balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, juniper, and peppercorns, bring to a boil.
  3. Boil for two minutes, then reduce heat to low.
  4. Return the lamb shanks to the pan.
  5. Cover the pan and cook for about two hours, until the meat is very tender.  Turn the shanks from time to time to ensure even cooking.


  1. Remove the lamb shanks from the casserole and transfer to a serving dish.
  2. Pass the braising liquid through a sieve to form a sauce, pour over shanks.
  3. Garnish with grated chocolate, dried cherries, and pine nuts. Serve warm.

Watch Cook Like a Chef Fridays at 8:30 pm ET