Persian 5 spice and saffron braised lamb shanks

By Samira Mohyeddin
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  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of ground damask rose petal
  • 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • 2 whole julienned white onions
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron (ground and diluted in hot water)
  • 8 dried apricots


  1. Trim any excess fat from lamb shanks and season generously with salt and pepper. Place lamb shanks in a roasting pan or deep heavy pot over medium high heat.
  2. Brown lamb shanks on all sides and set aside. In the same roasting add your onions and begin the layering process with the onion, fresh mint, apricots and the cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, rose petal, and ground nutmeg. Make sure they are evenly distributed.
  3. Ground your saffron and add to a glass of boiled water and let sit for ten minutes to bring out the full colour. Add that saffron water to the roasting pan over the lamb shanks. Then add an extra large glass of hot water to the same pan.
  4. Cover the pan with foil and place in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees for about two hours (turn lamb every 30 minutes in the pan and check the taste, amount, and consistency of the liquid). Lamb is done when it begins to fall off the bone. Remove the shanks from the pan and place into a low dish. Drizzle all that lovely liquid and apricots over top and garnish with fresh mint. You can serve the lamb shanks with a steamed saffron basmati rice or Persian flat bread.


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