Lamb Shank & Barley Casserole with Dill Oil – Dani Valent

A hug from the inside, full of goodness and warmth

I’m excited to share this hearty lamb shank recipe with you. It’s so warming, sustaining and filling, with succulent lamb, the goodness of barley and greens, and the bright zing of dill oil to add shine and silky texture.

Lamb shanks are a working cut of meat that loves slow cooking so this dish takes a while. However, you can trust that all that cooking time is adding flavour to your meal, firstly as the juices drip from the Varoma and then as the diced lamb is gently incorporated into the soupy stew.

This dish is great as a casserole but you can also serve it as a sturdy soup, thinned out with a little extra water or stock if desired.

If you’re a fan of red wine, you might like to try the lamb shanks with a rich shiraz, cabernet or grenache blend. And, if you’re me, you may perhaps savour the wine while the lamb is cooking too!

A final note about vegetables: I chose to dice them for this dish. I know! Sacre bleu! Of course, you can also chop the celery, leek, turnip and carrot in the mixing bowl – cut into pieces, add to mixing bowl and chop for a few secs on speed 5 – but sometimes I enjoy a little meditative chopping. It’s funny – some Thermo-sceptics say they wouldn’t want a Thermomix because they love chopping… Guess what, people? You still can!

Serves: 6-8 as a main
Time: 2 hours 



  • 1000 grams (35 oz) water
  • 2 lamb shanks (approx. 300 grams (10.5 oz) each)
  • 3 sticks celery, cut into 1 cm (1/4 inch) dice
  • 1 leek, white and light green part only, cut in half lengthways then into ½ cm (1/8 inch) half moons (semi-circles)
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1 cm (1/4 inch) dice
  • 200 grams (7 oz) carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm (1/4 inch) dice
  • 150 grams (5.2 oz) pearl barley
  • 1 tsp flaked salt
  • 4 stalks kale or silverbeet, roughly torn from stem
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) peas, frozen are fine
  • pepper, to taste


  • mint, chopped
  • celery leaves
  • dill oil (see recipe below)


1. Place water into mixing bowl and lamb shanks into Varoma. Set Varoma into position and steam for 40 min/Varoma/speed 1. Remove Varoma and set aside.

2. Place celery, leek, turnip, carrot, barley and salt into mixing bowl.

3. Add extra water, if necessary, to ensure vegetables are submerged.

4. Return lamb shanks in Varoma to position and cook for 30 min/100°C (212°F)/Reverse/speed 1. Carefully transfer lamb shanks to a chopping board and use a knife to cut meat from bones, removing any cartilage.

5. Dice meat into a similar size as the veggies and add it to the soup. Cook for 25 min/100°C (212°F)/Reverse/speed 1, or until lamb and barley are tender.

6. Add kale or silverbeet and peas and season with pepper to taste. Cook for 5 min/100°C (212°F)/Reverse/speed 1.

Scatter with mint and celery leaves and drizzle over dill oil to serve.


  • Casserole freezes well.


  • Lamb and peas are old friends but you can replace peas with broccoli.
  • Parsnip can be used instead of turnip.

Dill Oil


  • 12 sprigs fresh dill, leaves only (approx. 60 grams (2 oz))
  • 200 grams (7 oz) grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil such as light olive oil)


1. Place dill and oil into mixing bowl and cook 6 min/50°C (120°F)/speed 6, then blend 1 min/speed 10.

2. Line simmering basket with two layers of paper towel and place over a bowl. Transfer dill mixture into simmering basket and allow to drain. Discard solids and transfer oil into a sealable jar or container and place into refrigerator until ready to use. Oil will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Beetroot, Pear & Pomegranate Salad works beautifully alongside this hearty casserole.

Want all the low-down on lamb? Join me for a lamb masterclass with Gary McBean from Gary’s Quality Meats at Prahran Market, to learn all about which cuts to use for which meals.

Looking for more lamb recipes? Try Pistachio-Crusted Lamb Cutlets with Green Tahini Sauce: Israeli chef Yair Feinberg’s contribution to my cookbook In the Mix 2: More Great Thermomix Recipes. Also try Jesse McTavish’s Lamb Cutlets, Salsa Verde & Lovage Oil: a mouth-watering meat with three quick condiments and my mouthwatering Pineapple-spiked Vietnamese Lamb Salad.

More about this video

I was so happy that rain was sheeting down outside while I made this wintry casserole. In case you’re wondering, those are water tanks lining my fence and they were filling up nicely on this stormy day.

I love the rich colours in my Obus tapestry top.

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I love my Elk top & Obus pants

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