Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Braised Lamb Shank & Kūmara Pie

Waiting for the lamb to work its magic in the oven requires patience, but the end result is completely worth it. 

Words & recipe: Ruth Pretty  Styling & photo: Carolyn Robertson

Serves 6


For the lamb shanks:
4 lamb shanks
4 tablespoons flour, seasoned
with flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
6 parsley sprigs
225ml red wine
1.5l beef stock or water, or a mixture of both

For the pie:
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
300ml stock from cooked lamb shanks (freeze any remaining stock for future use)
juice of 1 lemon
220g kūmara, peeled, diced, blanched and cooled
2-3 cups pulled, cooked, lamb shank meat
½ cup chopped parsley leaves
275g purchased pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, separated
1 tablespoon water


Heat the oven to 180°C. Roll each lamb shank in flour and shake to remove excess. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan (or in an ovenproof casserole dish) set over medium heat.

Brown the lamb shanks on all sides (do this in batches). Transfer them to a heavy-based casserole and add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and parsley sprigs. Pour in the red wine and enough beef stock or water to just cover the shanks.

Cover the casserole tightly and bake for two hours or until the meat is just about falling off the bone. Remove the shanks from the stock and cool. Pull the meat from the bones and set it aside. Pour the stock through a sieve and discard vegetables and herbs. Leave the stock to cool and allow fat to set on the surface. When completely cold, remove the fat with a spoon. Chill meat and stock until ready to use.

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To assemble the pie, grease a rectangular or large round pie dish (preferably ceramic) with baking spray. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned. Add the flour and tomato paste and cook gently for 2-3 minutes or until the flour begins to smell nutty. Stir in the brown sugar and lower the heat. Slowly whisk in the stock to make a medium-thick sauce. Simmer for 2-3 minutes over low heat. Add the lemon juice and allow it to cool. To speed up the cooling process, transfer the sauce to a low-sided plastic container and put it in the fridge.

Place the kūmara, pulled lamb meat and parsley into the prepared pie dish and gently toss together. Pour the cooled sauce on top. Season to taste.

Heat the oven to 200°C. Trim the pastry to slightly larger than the pie dish, then drape it over the pie dish. Brush the pastry edges with beaten egg white. Cut a hole in the centre of the pastry (large enough to insert a decorative pie funnel — or a rolled aluminium foil vent covered with a piece of pastry). Cut the remaining pastry into 2cm strips and make a generous frill around the pie edge.

Leave the pie to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Combine egg yolk with water and brush over the pastry. Cut 4-5 slits in the pastry lid, then bake the pie for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. If using a foil vent, remove before serving.

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Roasted Cabbage with Bacon


½ medium cabbage, loose outer leaves removed, cut into six wedges
3 rindless bacon rashers, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon flaky salt


Heat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a low-sided roasting tray. Arrange the cabbage wedges on the tray. Scatter the bacon on top, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30-35 minutes until the cabbage is soft when pierced and the edges are golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves 6

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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