Spiced lamb shanks


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Winter Food

Winter Food

By Jill Norman

Published 2005

  • About

Lamb shanks offer great value for money, are quick to prepare and can be left to simmer for a couple of hours to produce a rich, succulent dish.


  • 4 lamb shanks, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 400 g chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • about 250 ml chicken stock or water


Brown the lamb shanks in the oil in a large pan. Remove them and set aside while you fry the spices lightly in the oil. Add the onion and fry with the spices for 4–5 minutes, then put back the lamb shanks. Add the tomatoes, salt and enough stock or water almost to cover the shanks. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a heat diffuser or in the oven preheated to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. It will take 2–2 2½ hours.

Lift the shanks out of the pan carefully; the meat will be loose on the bone. Put them in a covered bowl while you boil the cooking liquid on the stove to reduce it slightly and then blend it to make a sauce. Strain it into the rinsed-out pan, put back the lamb and reheat gently if necessary.

Serve with Soft Polenta, potatoes or couscous and a bowl of harissa.