A few weeks before we went into hibernation, we welcomed Francis Kyan to our team. Francis has taken the role of Head Chef and has been instrumental in supporting our kitchen and back of house team through the clubs awakening! Please join us in welcoming him if you see him the next time you are visiting The Westport Club.

These last few weeks have seen true Winter days in beautiful Port Macquarie, rainy and cold, perfect weather for comfort food. If you’ve been to the club this past week, you would have seen the delicious addition of Lamb Shanks to our specials board. They have been super popular and all reports are they are absolutely scrumptious! We asked Chef Francis to share his recipe – and here it is!

A classic way to prepare shanks, these are slow cooked in a deeply flavoured red wine sauce until they are meltingly tender. You can’t taste the red wine at the end, it completely transforms into a rich sauce. Make this in the oven, on your stove or even in a slow cooker – instructions provided will cover all!

Ingredients – Chef Francis’ Lamb Shanks

  • 4 lamb shanks, around 13 oz / 400g each
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced (brown, yellow or white)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup carrot, finely diced
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 1/2 cups / 625 ml red wine, full bodied
  • 28 oz / 800g can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 5 sprigs of thyme (preferably tied together)
  • 2 dried bay leaves (or 4 fresh)

To Serve

  • Mashed potato
  • Fresh thyme leaves, optional garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Pat the lamb shanks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy based pot over high heat. Sear the lamb shanks in 2 batches until brown all over, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove lamb onto a plate and drain excess fat (if any) from the pot.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium low. Heat remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in the same pot, if needed. Add the onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent and sweet.
  7. Add the red wine, chicken stock, crushed tomato, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
  8. Place the lamb shanks into the pot, squeezing them in to fit so they are mostly submerged
  9. Turn stove up, bring to a simmer. Cover, then transfer to the oven for 2 hours (see notes for other cook methods).
  10. Remove from oven, remove lid, then return to the oven for another 30 minutes (so 2 1/2 hours in total). Check to ensure lamb meat is ultra tender – if not, cover and keep cooking. Ideal is tender meat but still just holding onto bone.
  11. Remove lamb onto plate and keep warm. Pick out and discard bay leaves and thyme.
  12. Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing to extract all sauce out of the veggies. Pour strained sauce back into pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat and reduce slightly to a syrupy consistency. Taste then add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve the lamb shanks on mashed potato.

Doesn’t that sound amazing.. yum. Please let us know if you have a go at recreating this recipe! We would love to see your results. If you have any other deliciously warming winter meals, please send them through to us on Facebook – we could all use some new inspiration in the kitchen! Remember, no matter the weather outside, Aqua is serving up comfort food for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week! Book online now to secure your table.