Lamb Shanks with Quince

Ayva Yahnisi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

By Jason Goodwin

Published 2016

  • About

‘Eating the quince’, in Turkish, means having a tough time: they are not to be taken lightly raw. But cooked – in marmalades, too – they are delicious; as fruit they are beautiful to look at and smell divine. In Istanbul they are sold by men who carry them in baskets on their backs, and wander the streets in the deep winter snows.


  • lamb shanks 4
  • olive oil
  • butter 50 g/2 oz
  • onion 1 large, finely chopped
  • cinnamon 2 sticks
  • cloves 3
  • allspice ½ tsp, ground pomegranate molasses 3 tbsp pepper salt
  • brown sugar 4 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp, ground quinces 4, cored and quartered juice of a lemon


  • Brown the shanks in oil over a low heat for 20 minutes. Pour off the fat, drop in the butter, let it melt, and add the onion. When it has softened, fling in all the spices except the ground cinnamon, along with the pomegranate molasses, a cup of water, pepper, salt and half the sugar. Give the pan a stir and set it to simmer gently with a lid on for an hour and a half. If the steam escapes, add a little more water.
  • Set the pan aside but keep it warm. Pour about half a cupful of the cooking liquid into a frying pan, add the rest of the sugar and the cinnamon, and bring to a smart boil. Drop in the quince pieces and glaze them on both sides as the liquid reduces.
  • You can pull the meat off the bones meanwhile, if you want.
  • When the quinces are shining with the glaze, tip them and any remaining sauce over the lamb, deglaze the pan with lemonjuice and add to the main dish.