Sumptuous lamb shanks

This rich, sumptuous, and delicious recipe, is a real feast of a stew and perfect for winter. The dark gravy of dates, pomegranate molasses and red wine balance each other out from sweetness and tart to rich and comforting.


  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup plain flour seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 2 large onions , peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic , sliced
  • 2 large carrots , peeled and cut into chunky slices
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary , plus more to sprinkle
  • 1 1/2 cups soft, dry pitted dates , approx.
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 lime to squeeze when serving if it is a little sweet for your tastebuds.


  • Preheat your oven to 160°C.
  • Season flour and place in a large bowl or zip lock bag. Add shanks and evenly coat with the flour
  • Heat a large pan with olive oil and heat to medium high. Add the lamb shanks (in two batches) in to brown over a medium-high heat. Once they are lightly browned, after about 5 minutes, put the first 3 shanks back into the bowl, and repeat with the remaining shanks.Once all the lamb shanks are out of the pan, turn the heat down to medium and fry the onions, garlic cloves, and carrots for another 5 minutes or so until they start to lose their crispness.Stir in the spices, pepper, salt, and finely chopped rosemary, then tip in the dates and pour in the chicken broth, wine and pomegranate molasses. Once you have stirred this all together and the pan is bubbling, sit the shanks back in, scraping in any juices from the bowl, with the meaty side mostly in the liquid. You will need to fit them in like a jigsaw puzzle in a single layer. Don’t worry that there isn’t much liquid in the pan; you don’t want there to be or the sauce will be too runny later.Tear off a large piece of parchment paper and place it over the top of the meat and tuck it in well before clamping on the lid. Transfer immediately to the oven.Cook for approximately 3 hours but check after 2½ hours whether the lamb is tender. The meat on the bone should be quite soft and starting to come away from the shank, so be gentle as you lift them out of the pan. Arrange in a large, shallow bowl. Check the rich liquid in the pan for seasoning, adding a little lime juice if you want more sharpness, then spoon some of the dark sauce over each shank and sprinkle with a little finely chopped rosemary. Pour the rest of the thick fruity gravy around the shanks and serve with a creamy mash or polenta