Chef Josh Elliott Curry braised Aussie lamb shank

  • Prep time 6Hr
  • Cook time 5Hr
  • Technique Braise
  • Meat Lamb
  • Cut Shank
  • Serves 8

Curry braised Aussie lamb shank


10 pounds Australian lamb hind shanks
16 ounces kosher salt
8 ounces sugar
8 ounces red curry spice

Dry spice mise en place:
3-4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons turmeric
16 ounce golden Vadouvan spice
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
3-4 star anise
2 tablespoons green cardamom
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4-5 ounce olive oil

Braise mise en place :
16 oz. coconut milk
1 bottle white wine (good quality)
2-3 oz. fresh ginger
10 garlic cloves
2 lemongrass stalks
2-3 leeks, 1 in. rings, roughly chopped
2-3 celery stalks, 1 in. cuts, roughly chopped
2-3 large Spanish onions, 1 in. rings, roughly chopped
2-3 beefsteak or Roma tomatoes, 1 in., cuts, roughly chopped
1 carrot, 1 in. cuts, roughly chopped
1 Tbs. tomato paste
8 oz. cilantro
8 oz. thyme
8 oz. rosemary

Pumpkin spiced fregola :
16 ounce fregola
64 ounce vegetable stock
1 large Spanish onion, small diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
1-2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
8 ounce green olives (Castelvetrano preferably)
8 ounce dried cranberries
2 ounce flat leaf Italian parsley, chiffonade
2 ounce cilantro, chiffonade
2 ounce mint, chiffonade
2 ounce chives, chopped

Pumpkin puree:
1 butternut squash
1-2 teaspoon(s) pumpkin spice
Kosher salt, to taste
6 ounce pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted


For the Lamb:
Combine all of the ingredients and liberally coat all lamb shanks. Allow lamb shanks to cure for 6 hours in refrigerator. After 6 hours, thoroughly rinse the shanks and allow to dry.

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Preheat large rondeau or Dutch oven on medium high heat.

Season lamb shanks liberally with kosher salt. Gently pour olive oil into pan and allow to heat. Place lamb shanks in one at a time and allow shanks to brown on one side over medium high heat for 6-8 minutes or until light golden brown. Repeat this process until all sides are one consistent caramel color. Remove the shanks from heat and remove half of the shank fat; reserve fat. 

Reduce the heat to medium. Add all dry spice mise en place (except turmeric and Vadouvan spice) to the fat in the pan and begin to toast over medium heat until they become very aromatic. Add the turmeric and Vadouvan spice mix at the end to achieve a very rich brown spice mixture. Remove the mixture from the pan thoroughly and reserve on the side.

In a medium pan, add the remaining half of the warm fat over high heat along with the braise mise en place to the pan, starting with the onion, leeks, celery, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and carrot. Lightly brown the mix and add the fresh tomato; cook until lightly tender. Add the tomato paste, and cook for 1-2 more minutes on high heat. Deglaze with the entire bottle of white wine.

Gently place the lamb shanks back into the pan with this mixture and add just enough water to cover along with 16 oz. of coconut milk. Add all of the fresh herbs and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, place lid or cover tightly with foil and place into the preheated 325°F oven and cook until very tender (4-5 hours).

Once the shanks are cooked to tender, remove from the oven and keep in the liquid for 4-5 hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

Once ready to serve, remove the fat from the top of the mixture, place the pot back on the burner and bring to a simmer until they are very hot and almost falling off the bone. The sauce from the braising liquid will be used to coat the lamb shanks (curry lamb sauce) before sitting atop the fregola.

For the Pumpkin spiced fregola:
Preheat large sauté pan to medium heat. Add olive oil, allowing it to lightly smoke. Add onion then garlic. Add a liberal pinch of salt and stir. Keep moving the onion and garlic mixture until it becomes translucent. Add fregola and lightly toast in the pan.


Start adding the stock one ladle full at a time and continue to stir. Continue to add the stock until the fregola is al dente. Add the olives and cranberries and continue to stir until it is cool. Remove from heat.

For the Pumpkin puree:
Peel and dice the butternut squash into small pieces. Place in a sauce pot with just enough vegetable stock (or water) to cover. Add a liberal pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Cook until very soft.

Strain all of the water (and reserve) and place squash in a blender, cover tightly and blend on low. Continue to blend, adding a little bit of the liquid at a time and adjust with the pumpkin spice by starting with a ½ tsp. and adding until desired amount of spice is reached. To finish, add salt to taste. 

To finish the fregola, turn back on the heat and slowly add a spoonful of the pumpkin (butternut squash purée) at a time along with a little bit of the vegetable stock to keep it loose. Add all of the chiffonade fresh herbs, a splash of olive oil and salt to your liking.

To Plate:
Spoon the fregola onto the plate, place a curry braised lamb shank on top. Top with a spoonful of the curry lamb sauce and a pinch of the toasted pumpkin seeds.


Note: Chef suggests doing this a couple days ahead or very early in the morning