Lamb Shanks with Purple Rice for Christmas

This spectacular recipe was given to me a few years ago by celebrity chef Jean Paul Desmaison. What got my attention at the time was the purple rice made with chicha morada water. The color was a rich, stunning purple that made it really festive. A really impressive side dish, even more so back then when Peruvian cuisine was much less experimental than it is today.

If you don’t feel like having turkey for Christmas, as we Peruvians do, then try this delicious recipe. The lamb shanks are a good alternative, succulent and tasty, and you can make everything in advance so you can actually enjoy Christmas. Serve with fresh asparagus to give the dish an extra color or choose any other veggies of your choice.

Lamb Shanks with Purple Rice
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ carrot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ cup lamb stock, or chicken stock
  • 4 portions purple rice**
  • 8 asparagus, cooked
  • 2 artichoke hearts, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
  2. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat and cook the shanks until golden. Transfer the shanks to a plate, cover with foil and reserve.
  3. In the same saucepan sauté onion, carrot, garlic and parsley. Add wine, return the lamb shanks to the pan, cover, and cook for 3 hours in the oven.
  4. When the meat is fork tender, boil the remaining juices until slightly thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Side dish:
  6. To make the purple rice you need chicha morada (cook purple corn that you can buy in Latin grocery stores, with pinapple, quince, cinnamon, cloves, and apple). Otherwise, you can buy purple rice in the supermarket, and cook it according to the instructions of the package.
  7. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and sauté the asparagus with the artichoke hearts. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. To serve:
  9. In every plate put a lamb shank , sauce, purple rice and vegetables.

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