Syrian lamb shanks with ginger and saffron

Syrian lamb shanks with ginger and saffron

Emilie Guelpa

This is a hearty winter dish with a touch of warmth from the spices and zingy ginger. If you prefer, you can make this recipe with 750 grams of diced lamb, but the shanks have more flavour because the meat is cooked on the bone.


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper
6 lamb shanks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
10cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 small red chillies, chopped
pinch saffron threads
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons honey
100g sliced dried apricots
500ml chicken stock
100g cooked chickpeas
30g coriander leaves
steamed couscous, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Combine the cumin and cinnamon in a large bowl with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Lightly coat the lamb shanks with the spice mix.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium–high heat. Cook the lamb, in batches if necessary, turning often, for about 5 minutes, until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the dish and set aside. Add the onion and ginger and cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring often, until softened. Add the garlic, chilli and saffron, and cook for a further 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the tomato and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add the honey and apricots, return the lamb shanks to the dish, and pour in enough stock to cover. Season with salt and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the cooked chickpeas and cover with a lid. Transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
  4. Stir in the coriander, check the seasoning and serve with steamed couscous.
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