Jamie Oliver’s lamb shank and beer recipe – tweaked

The story so far

Jamie Oliver discovers beer and food go great together in the kitchen. and tells the French to do something anatomically regrettable with their wine. It’s all part of the Yorkshire episode of his trip around Britain. And having insulted an entire nation, wisely comes up with a proof of his own devising that there is an affinity between food and beer: a Persian-inspired recipe for lamb shanks with Guinness.

The Middle East not being the hotbed of beer recipes it once was, you can guess the Persian part of the influence comes from the non-beer ingredients. In the televised sequence, I think he uses an ale from the Leeds Brewery, but by the time the recipe is posted on the C4 website, the recipe’s name has magically transmuted into “Guinness lamb shanks”.  I’ve had a go myself, and tweaked it a bit. Here’s what I did…

The recipe suggests as an alternative to Guinness “a good dark ale”, which is about as helpful as saying “add some nice red meat here”, but it does give me some room for my own suggestion. Given the inspiration for the dish, I have what I think are some even better suggestions that combine dark fruit flavours and dark-ish ale, and have a couple of ideas for beers to pair with it.

Here is the original Jaimie recipe.


The Persian slant in the recipe is in the dark fruit in the cooking sauce, which includes raisins and thick-cut marmalade, and a finishing mint oil and spring onion garnish. The marmalade immediately suggested to me Fullers – more specifically Fuller’s 1845, a big, copper-coloured bottle-conditioned ale bursting with Fullers house style old English marmalade tang and rich, cakey flavours.

At the end of cooking, to finish the sauce, I added a good slug of Fuller’s London Porter; Guinness will do fine, especially if you can find a bottle of Export Stout. I picked up this trick from a Keith Floyd recipe for chicken in beer – and it does add an extra depth to the sauce.

Jamie’s recipe forbids any substitution for the mint oil and spring onion garnish, which is intended to give a refreshing lift to the final dish. However, Waitrose seemed only willing to sell me half a hundredweight of mint, so I made a fresh oregano oil instead. It adds a sharp lightness to the finished dish, and I think, goes better with the beer. Everybody’s tried mint and lamb, anyway.

To accompany? More Fuller’s 1845 would do nicely, but an extra Jamie-type tweak would be Fuller’s Vintage (8.5.%) Also available from Waitrose, if they haven’t replaced it to make room for more fresh mint. As a contrast, Fullers Discovery (4.2%), which is made with a proportion of wheat, would give a refreshingly zesty and slightly floral contrast.

My post on Jaimie’s Channel 4 programme, in which Jamie discovers the joys of cooking with beer and sticks it to the French.

Jamie’s Great Britain Episode 2


Jamie Oliver’s Persian-inspired Guinness and lamb shank recipe.

Fuller’s beers

Lambshank Redemption blog (got to my headline before me…)

One thought on “Jamie Oliver’s lamb shank and beer recipe – tweaked

  1. I must admit, I liked the look of this recipe, too. The fuller’s is a great idea though, I can totally see a beer like that – with big, cakey, raisin-y notes, being much better for lamb than stout or porters, to be honest. Good work.

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