A perfect one-pan comfort dish

Gorgeous, slow-cooked lamb shank cassoulet is a simple and flavoursome dish.

  • SERVES: 4
  • PREP TIME: 10 mins
  • COOK TIME: 3 – 3.5 hrs hands-off slow cooking
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • IDEAL FOR: crowd-pleaser, weekend indulgence, family, dinner party

What is cassoulet?

For one thing, it’s easy to make.

And I’ve never had a disappointed friend or family member when I’ve cooked it.

It’s also perfect for cooking in advance when you have a crowd coming.

We often would stick it in the wood oven and go for a long walk.

Then tuck into it on our return.

Here is the original French cassoulet I made a while ago and gained a lot of compliments.

But it’s not a dish you make when you want to feel the need for a health kick.

A traditional cassoulet is proper French fare which means it’s a simple flavoursome dish.

So, what’s in it?

A cassoulet is a hearty slow-cooked dish usually made up of sausage, confit (typically duck), pork, and white beans.

And then a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on the top that soak up the amazing sauce and add a little texture.

A cassoulet is a go-hard or go-home dish.

And it makes no apologies for its meatiness.

But you can have some license with the ingredients.

And in this version, we’re using tender slow-cooked lamb shanks.

What is a lamb shank

Lamb shank is a cut of meat from the shin of the lamb leg.

You can get two types: The foreshank (from the smaller front legs) and the hindshank (from the meatier back legs).

Slow-cooked lamb shank cassoulet

With slow cooking, you get meltingly tender meat which falls from the bone.

And the bone marrow gives a rich flavour that makes an incredible addition to your sauce.

Add to it some delicious, creamy, sauce-absorbing beans… and you’re onto a winner.

It’s the kind of cooking I love because (when you buy good quality) it does all the hard work for you.

And everyone thinks you’re an epic cook.

What to serve with lamb shanks

Lamb shanks are perfect for braising.

This is a combination-cooking method that starts with pan-searing followed by slow cooking in a liquid—usually in a Dutch oven or a slow cooker.

And it’s hands-off.

Braising tenderises the meat and brings out an amazing depth of flavour to your dish.

 In this dish, I simply use beans (you can use haricot, butter beans or any beans that won’t break down too much but also will absorb some of the delicious sauce).

If you’re not wanting to make a cassoulet, then lamb shanks sit perfectly well with, creamy mashed potato, polenta, and saffron risotto.

And then have some side dishes such as spring greens, etc.

Slow-cooked lamb shank cassoulet

Course Main Course
Keyword cassoulet, lamb, lamb cassoulet, lamb shanks, low and slow cooking, slow cooking
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost ££


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g smoked back bacon, chopped
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 1 litre lamb or chicken stock
  • 2 x 400 g tinned haricot or butter beans drained and rinsed
  • 4 – 6 Toulouse sausages (or any flavour you enjoy), cut into pieces


  • Season the lamb shanks. Heat a thin layer of oil in a casserole dish and fry the lamb over medium heat on each side until evenly browned. Set aside on a plate.
  • Add the bacon to the same pan and fry until golden, then add the onions and garlic and stir. Cook until the onions are soft ad translucent – approx. 4 – 5 mins.
    Add the tomato puree and herbs and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the white wine. Let the wine boil and reduce it by two-thirds.
    Add the stock and bring it to a simmer. Now return the lamb shanks to the pan and crumple some baking paper on top (this stops the lamb shanks from drying out).
  • Turn the heat to the lowest setting and gently simmer for 2½-3 hours, turning the lamb shanks over halfway, until tender and just about falling off the bone.
  • Transfer the shanks to a warm plate and cover to rest.
    Boil the braising liquid until reduced by about half, then reduce the heat, add the beans and sausages to the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes until the sausages are cooked. Season and return the lamb to the pan to reheat.
    Serve with your choice of greens.


Recipe: Gordon Ramsey

Recipe: Gordon Ramsey

References: Masterclass