Jim’s lamb shank and thyme soup

JimåÕs lamb shank and thyme soup




  • 4 small lamb shanks, trimmed of all fat, dusted in flour
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup dark green lentils
  • ¼ cup pearl barley
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat a heavy-based large saucepan to medium heat, and then add oil.

Add shanks in batches and brown on all sides, remove and set aside. Add carrot, celery, onion and sauté until soft, scraping any bits stuck to the bottom of pan. Return shanks to pan.

Add stock, lentils, barley, and water. If the level of liquid doesn’t cover everything, add more water. Stir in tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, thyme and pepper.

Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for two and a half hours or until the meat is falling off the bones. Check occasionally to prevent it boiling over and remove the scummy foam on the surface that appears from time to time. You can add more water if you think it needs it.

Once ready, remove the meat from bones in little pieces and return to soup – it’s ready when the meat slips off the bone easily.

Serve immediately with buttered crusty bread.


  • It is my mother-in-law (Trish’s) friend Jim’s recipe that inspired me here. I have just reworked it a little. He is a wonderful cook! Thank you Jim!
  • I balance the lid on this pot of soup to the side slightly so the soup doesn’t constantly boil over.
  • I use salt-reduced beef stock, and even with this I feel it doesn’t need much salt added.
  • This is an indulgent-tasting recipe if you feel like something special without spending a fortune on more pricey cuts of lamb.
  • This recipe was created by Kristine Duran-Thiessen for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best recipe finder

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