Cascadia Rooibos Braised Lamb Shanks

2008 Nov/Dec

Cascadia is a rooibos tea with fennel, mint and lemon overtones that go very well with lamb. Also try black teas that have complementary flavours, such as pomegranate, rosehip, darjeeling or the smoky lapsang souchong.


  • 6 one-lb lamb shanks, trimmed of excess fat
  • Olive or canola oil
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed or left whole
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 c. dry red wine
  • 3 T. cascadia rooibos tea leaves or other rooibos or black tea
  • 1 t. sugar


Heat a good drizzle of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the lamb shanks on all sides, working in batches so the pan isn’t crowded. As you brown the shanks, place them in a roasting pan and preheat the oven to 325°F.

Add a little more oil to the skillet and sauté the onions and fennel for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, tomato paste and pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine, tea leaves, sugar and 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer.

Pour sauce over the lamb shanks in the roasting pan and cover tightly with a lid or with foil. The liquid should come about halfway up the shanks. Bake for 1 hour, then remove the lid or foil and cook for another 2 to 2 1/2 hours, turning the shanks every half hour or so, until the meat is very tender.

Remove the lamb from the sauce and remove as much fat from the sauce as you can. If you like, transfer the vegetables and liquid to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Serve the lamb shanks topped with the vegetables and sauce, with mashed potatoes or soft polenta. Serves 6.