Lamb Shank Pie

Ladies and Gentlemen, Wenches and Rogues, I am proud to announce the birth of my second born, and my first Man Child; his name is… Archer, and, if I do say so myself, I say, he has the perfect name for the son of a Culinary Barbarian. A strong, regal name. A hunter! A Warrior! A provider! When his foes hear his battle cry, they will flee in fear!

Maybe I’m projecting. For now he’s pretty weird and squishy looking and doesn’t do much, but the ladies seem to dig him. Maybe he’ll be a secret agent and have torrid but brief affairs with dangerous women whose names allude to sexual innuendo. Perhaps he’ll be a beloved rebel who steals from corrupt politicians to give to the poor and oppressed. Could he, perchance, become a Game Keeper for a wealthy invalid laird and catch the eye of the lady of the house? 

All these things are possible, but in any case I’ll have to teach him some basics first, like, how to walk, talk and how to eat solids. Speaking of solids, you should probably try my latest recipe; The Culinary Barbarian’s Lamb Shank Pie!

lamb shank pie


4 lamb shanks

1 large onion, roughly chopped

10 button mushrooms, quartered

5 parsnips, peeled and cut into rustic chunks

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 turnip, peeled and roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

Oil, for frying

400g can crushed tomatoes

315ml of amber ale, red ale, stout or porter (light on the hops)

3 sprigs of rosemary

4 sprigs of thyme 

1cup beef stock

1 sheet puff pastry

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp milk

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Bring the lamb shanks to room temperature and season with salt and pepper. Heat a good lug of oil on a heavy based casserole dish or Dutch oven, over high heat and brown the shanks on all sides in batches. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add a little more oil and sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms until golden. Add the parsnip, carrot and turnip and sweat the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, stock and beer and bring to the boil.
  3. Once boiling, turn off the heat and arrange the lamb shanks over the vegetables and set the rosemary and time in a bundle in the middle.  Cover with the lid and into the oven for 3 ½ hours or until the meat can easily be pushed off the bone with a fork.
  4. Once the lamb is falling apart, take the dish out of the oven and carefully remove the lamb shanks and set on a plate. Using tongs and a fork, pick the meat off the bone and add back to the pot and stir through. Remove the knuckles from the bones and toss into the pot along with the bones. The gelatinous cartilage will help to thicken the stew. Return to the oven for a further 20 min.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer the stew to a smaller pie dish (or individual ramekins), eliminating the knuckles. Turn up the oven to 200°C. Set the bones aside. Cut the pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and slit 3 “L” shaped slits in the centre of the pie in a triangle shape. Arrange 3 of the bones with the smaller end poking up out of the pie crust through the slits. Beat 1 egg yolk and 2 tbsp of milk and brush the pastry to glaze. And bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden.
  6. Plate and serve with mash and mushy peas.