This is my version of Persian lamb shanks slow cooked in a mixture of lime juice, orange juice, rosewater, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, paprika, pepper, thyme, garlic and saffron. The combination of spices and citrus permeates the lamb and the resulting dish is fragrant and delicious.
Don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients, the end result is worth the preparation and slow cooking.
We had these with a spinach salad with orange segments and pomegranate seeds which complemented the flavours of the lamb perfectly. It would also go well with Caramelised Brussel Sprout, spinach and pomegranate salad.
A definite new favourite winter comfort food dish!
Preparation time: 1.5 hours Cooking time: 2-2.5 hours
4 frenched lamb shanks
Powdered/ ground spices:
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons saffron threads
1 teaspoon rosewater
Juice of 2 limes
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of half an orange
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup warm water
1 litre chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
1 large onion finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 bunch thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
Chopped mint, parsley and/or coriander, and extra orange zest
1. Place lamb shanks in a large bowl and add powdered and ground spices. Using rubber gloves thoroughly rub spices into lamb shanks and allow to marinade for at least and hour.
2. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
3.Put saffron threads in seperate bowl and add 1/2 cup warm water, rosewater, lime juice, orange juice and let this infuse for at least ten minutes.
3. Chop onions, finely slice onions, and strip thyme leaves off stems.
4. Heat oil in large casserole pot, brown lamb shanks 2 at a time ensuring a nice “crust” forms and set aside.
5. Remove excess oil from pot, leaving only a thin layer of oil to cook onions and garlic in.
6. Sautée onions and garlic over medium heat, adding salt to mixture, cook until soft and translucent.
7. Add bay leaves, thyme, orange and lime zest and add back lamb shanks and mix through.
8. Cover lamb shanks with hot chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer on stovetop for 10 minutes.
9. Cover pot with lid in pre-heated oven for 2-2.5 hours until lamb is tender and falling off the bone.
10. Remove lamb shanks from pot and set aside in cooling oven.
11. Strain stock mixture that is left in the pot and return strained sauce to pot to reduce to a thick jus.
12. You can serve shanks as is with jus poured over or shred the lamb and serve with jus on the side. Garnish with parsley or coriander and serve with rice and/or couscous and salad.