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Persian-style lamb shanks with figs recipe

Persian-style lamb shanks with figs recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Lamb
  • Cuts of lamb
  • Lamb shank

Roasting lamb shanks before slowly braising them removes much of the fat and gives a wonderful flavour, which perfectly complements the fragrant vegetable mix of lentils, tomatoes, courgettes and figs.

8 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 lamb shanks, about 340g each
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 shallots, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500g tomatoes, skinned and quartered
  • 300g dried green lentils
  • 850ml lamb or vegetable stock, or as needed
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 8 dried figs, quartered
  • 2 courgettes, thickly sliced
  • TO GARNISH chopped fresh coriander

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:2hr ›Ready in:2hr30min

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. When the oven is hot enough, put the lamb shanks in a roasting tin and roast for 25 minutes until they are a rich brown colour on the outside. Drain on kitchen paper. Reduce the oven to 160°C/gas 3.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the lentils, then add the lamb shanks, pushing them down into the vegetable mixture.
  3. Stir the pomegranate molasses and honey into the stock, then pour over the lamb. Slowly bring to the boil, then cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the casserole from the oven, add a little more stock if needed and stir in the figs and courgettes (this is easier if you lift out the lamb shanks first, then return them after stirring). Cover and cook in the oven for a further 45 minutes or until the lamb is very tender. Lift out the lamb and carve the meat from the 2 shanks. Discard the bones and return the lean meat to the casserole. Gently stir through, then serve scattered with chopped coriander.

Cook's tip

Pomegranate molasses is made with concentrated pomegranate juice. It's stocked in the ‘special ingredient’ section of larger supermarkets.

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Persian Lamb Shanks

Incredibly tender and full-flavoured, Persian Lamb Shanks, our very own recipe.

Lamb shanks are slowly cooked at a low temperature in Cranberry Juice, along with Ras el Hanout adding the Persian twist.


I promised easy, and easy you shall get. There’s nothing tricky in the steps and nor are there any hard to find ingredients in this, you’ll find everything at everyday supermarkets.

The only step below you might be wondering about is step 5 where the liquid is covered with parchment/baking paper. This is called a cartouche and it’s a cheffy technique of using paper as a lid for slow cooked recipes.

Like a lid, it slows down the rate of liquid evaporation but in addition to this, it encourages the even distribution of heat and stops a skin forming on the surface. It’s used commonly in some cuisines – including Japanese cooking!

It’s an optional step in this recipe that I recommend only if the liquid level doesn’t cover the lamb shanks.

Lamb Shanks, Moroccan Style

This recipe for lamb shanks combines the lamb with wonderful spices and dried fruits.

The spices are reminiscent of Moroccan cuisine, which also uses quite a bit of lamb.

This recipe incorporates all of the traditional flavors of Moroccan cuisine.

Moroccan meat recipes often incorporate spices like cinnamon, which we tend to reserve for desserts. Allspice and cloves are two more spices often used in this cuisine.

Moroccans also often add fruits to their meat dishes. Apricots are a favorite. One of my favorite meat stew recipes has dried apricots and cinnamon. Delicious!

The combination of dried prunes and apricots spices with cinnamon, cloves and allspice cooked with the lamb shanks will create the most wonderful aroma in your kitchen as it bakes.

The long slow cooking will also ensure fantastically tender lamb. It will pretty much fall off the bone.

Served with some rice or couscous (which is traditionally Moroccan) and a side vegetable, this makes a wonderful dinner recipe for entertaining.

If you are looking for recipes that are really quite easy but look and taste like gourmet recipes, try this lamb. I think you will love it.

Persian Lamb Shanks

This Persian style lamb shanks is one of the best lamb shanks recipes you can find.

Lamb shank has to be slow cooked in saffron and different spices which make them incredibly delicious. Long cooking at a low temperature is what you need to make this lamb shank dish.

  • 4 lamb shanks, (about 1.3 kg)
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Dissolve saffron in 1/2 cup boiling water and set aside (click for How to Use Saffron).

Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add half of the sliced onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes.

Add turmeric and stir. Place the lamb shanks on the onions.

Top with garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaves and remaining onions. Add cinnamon.

Cook covered over low heat for 1 hour and 45 minutes (do not add water).

Do not stir, just shake the pot occasionally.

Add 1/2 cup boiling water, dissolved saffron, tomato paste (optional), salt and pepper.

Cover the pot and cook for 2 hours or until meat falls off the bone easily (long cooking is required so the meat falls from the bone).

Turn the lamb shanks every 30 minutes so they cook evenly. Add more boiling water if needed.

At the end, discard the bay leaves. Your lamb shanks are ready to serve!

Note: All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. If you want to share this recipe, please simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thanks!

So let me know what you think of this persian lamb shanks in the comments, thanks!

Did you make this recipe? Then take a picture and tag me at @cooking_and_cooking on Instagram!

Like this recipe? For more recipe ideas join me on: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Telegram.

How to Make It

Rinse lamb and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set in a shallow 10- by 15-inch pan. Pat thyme all over meat lay rosemary sprigs on the leg.

Rinse figs and lemons. Cut figs in half lengthwise through stems and lay, cut side up, around lamb. Trim off and discard ends of lemons, then thinly slice lemons crosswise and discard seeds. Scatter slices over and around figs. Pour about 1/2 cup wine and the vinegar into pan. Sprinkle fruit with sugar.

Bake in a 400° regular or convection oven until a thermometer inserted through thickest part of meat to the bone reaches 130°, about 1 1/2 hours. As liquid evaporates, add more wine to pan to prevent scorching. Occasionally, turn fruit gently. The edges of the pieces should get dark if fruit starts to scorch, remove from pan.

Transfer roast and fruit to a platter and keep warm. Discard rosemary sprigs. Add enough broth to pan to make about 3/4 cup juices total, then add cream. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring to release browned bits. Pour into a small bowl or pitcher.

Lamb – It (should be) what’s for dinner!

So, we know that lamb is worth including into your diet from time to time, even though it is generally more expensive than other meats. I picked these organic grass fed lamb shanks up at our local grocery store in large part because they were only $6.99 a pound, which is still more than I like spending on meat but a bit cheaper than the ground lamb or boneless leg of lamb and much, much cheaper than the rack of lamb or lamb chops sitting next to it in the refrigerator case.

But then I got them home and had no idea what to do with them, until I started paging through a new addition to my cookbook collection, The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough.
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Written with directions for both stovetop and electric pressure cookers, this massive tome has 500 recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert, including two for lamb shanks. This recipe is my AIP-friendly adaptation of one of those, which I created and tested in my favorite kitchen appliance – the Instant Pot.
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Lamb Shank with Figs & Rosemary


    • 4 lamb shanks, trimmed
    • freshly ground pepper and sea salt
    • 1 c. unbleached white flour
    • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, sliced thin
    • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
    • 1 c. red wine
    • 2 c. beef broth
    • 1 (14 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
    • 12 dried figs, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped


    1. Liberally sprinkle the lamb shanks all over with a mixture of salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Heat a large heavy sauce pot over medium-high heat, and brown the shanks in olive oil on all sides. Remove the shanks and set aside.

    2. Sauté the sliced onion and garlic in the pan drippings until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the wines, broth, tomatoes, figs, and rosemary. Return the shanks to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1½ hours, or cook in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours.

    3. Remove the shanks and boil the sauce for another 15 minutes or so, until it is reduced to a gravy-like consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce with ½ tsp. of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put the shanks back in the thickened sauce to heat through until ready to eat.

    4. Serve with fluffy mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles to sop up all the juices.


    Heat the olive oil in a large casserole. Add the shanks, two at a time, and brown well on all sides. Remove the shanks from the casserole and add the onions. Fry for several minutes until starting to take on some colour, then add the garlic and spices. Cook for a couple more minutes.

    Pour in the chicken stock, saffron and soaking water. Return the shanks to the saucepan and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn down and cover.

    Cook for around two hours, or until the shanks are tender. Remove the shanks from the casserole and skim off the excess fat. Return the shanks to the casserole and add the honey, figs and preserved lemon.

    Continue to cook on a medium heat, uncovered, for a further half an hour, to soften the figs and reduce down the volume of liquid. Stir through the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

    Braised Lamb Shanks

    Seasoned with a blend of Mediterranean herbs and spices, these braised lamb shanks are pure bliss.

    You will want to plan ahead to make these delectable lamb shanks, but the results are so worth it. When marinating overnight in a Persian-inspired combination of spices, the lamb takes on a whole new level of flavor. You can even make the dish up to 2 days ahead of time - just reheat and serve. This certainly is a company-worthy dish that is so easy to reheat and serve on the day of your dinner party.

    The lamb shanks get a brief sear in the Dutch oven and then are ready for the oven. While the hands-on time is minimal, the dish will look and taste like you have fussed over it all day.

    Serve the braised lamb shanks with a side of rice, steamed vegetables and a loaf of crusty French bread for a drool-worthy dinner.

    Watch the video: Αρνάκι φρικασε (May 2022).