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Simple Braised Lamb Shanks with Winter Fruits

Simple Braised Lamb Shanks with Winter Fruits


  • Prep time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook time: 3 Hours 10 Minutes
  • Total time: 3 Hours 40 Minutes

Key Ingredients Needed

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped red onion about 4 medium or 2 large
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 2 medium carrots or parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruit dates, apricots, figs, cherries or prunes
  • 3 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 1/4 cups fruity red wine
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded for garnish

Instructions/Step By Step Directions

Step 1: In a small jar or bowl, combine all the spices, salt and pepper. I like to do this in advance, take my time, and ensure each one is properly toasted, ground and measured.

Step 2: Set a wide, heavy-bottomed DutchFrench oven (see Notes) over medium heat and get it preheating. Make sure it has a tight fitting lid. Place the lamb on a large tray and drizzle the olive oil over them. Use your hands to rub the oil all over the shanks.

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Add half the lamb to the Dutch oven and sear over medium heat, turning often to brown lightly on all sides. About 5 minutes. Return the shanks to the tray and repeat with the remaining lamb, searing until golden. You should finish with 6 seared shanks resting on the tray.

Step 4: Carefully tumble all the chopped onions into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced parsnip and carrots, along with the garlic cloves. Cook, stirring well, for 2 minutes, or until slightly soft.

Step 5: Sprinkle in the premixed spices and rosemary and stir to combine. Tumble in the mixed dried fruit and drizzle the molasses over everything. Pour in the wine or stock and scrape any bits of food off the bottom of the pan. Stir everything together well.

Step 6: Add the lamb shanks to the Dutch oven, nestling them in tightly together, meaty side down, in a single layer. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit snugly in the pan. Tuck it in around the meat, then cover with the lid. Place in the oven.

Step 7: Slowly braise the lamb for a total of 3 hours, checking after 2 1/2 hours and turning the shanks once. When they are done the meat will be tender and almost falling off the bone.

Step 8: You can serve the shanks in the dutch oven or transfer to a serving bowl. Stir half of the preserved lemon into the sauce and spoon the sauce over the shanks. Garnish with preserved lemon and pomegranate seeds and serve hot.


  • Serves 6 as a huge feast. Can serve up to 12 with a few sides as part of a multi-course meal.
  • The success of this simple recipe is owed largely to the Dutch or French oven. It keeps the dish airtight, and the lamb braises in a nice even heat. This makes for a relatively quick braise with meat that’s falling off the bone.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving size: 6

Veronica Brik is a renowned chef and cookbook author known for her innovative takes on classic dishes. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked in acclaimed restaurants in New York and San Francisco. In 2015, She published her first cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, which became a bestseller. Veronica's recipes have been featured in numerous publications including Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Cooking Light. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she operates a small restaurant focused on seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. When she's not in the kitchen, Veronica enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her family. You can email her at [email protected]