Turkish Braised Lamb Shanks

  • Prep Time: 30 - 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 120 minutes
  • Serves: 4


  • 30 ml paprika
  • 30 ml ground cumin
  • 10 ml ground cardamom
  • 10 ml ground cinnamon
  • 5 ml allspice
  • 2.5 ml ground cloves
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 x 500 g - 750 g lamb shanks
  • 125 ml olive oil
  • 2 large onions cut into small dice
  • 500 g plums, preferably damson or italian prune, quartered and pitted
  • 100 g sugar
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 500 ml chicken stock/broth


  1. Stir together the paprika, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, 5 ml salt and 5 ml pepper in a bowl. Rub the spice mix into the lamb shanks, creating a spice covering that coats the lamb completely. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or cast iron pot over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the plums and sugar, stir and cook until the plums are browned and wilted, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions and plums to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Put the seasoned shanks in the dutch oven and brown them well on all sides, about 8 minutes, turning to brown thoroughly. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  4. Adjust the heat so the liquid is just barely simmering. Cover the dutch oven and cook until the lamb is so tender it pulls away from the bone with just the tug of a fork, 90 - 120 minutes; add the onions and plums during the final 15 minutes of cooking. Periodically lift the lid to make sure the liquid is just barely simmering. If it’s bubbling too much, lower the temperature so that it doesn’t all boil away, but instead reduces to a thickened sauce.
  5. Use tongs to remove the shanks from the pot and transfer each one to a large dinner plate or shallow bowl. Spoon some sauce over each shank, being sure to include some onions and plums.

Best served: Immediately after cooking

Preparation Notes

Buttery couscous works well as a side for this dish.


  • Storage: Refrigerator for 3-4 days
  • Freezer: Unknown (unlikely)
  • Reheat: Microwave or Oven