Sticky spiced lamb shanks

Sticky spiced lamb shanks

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(26 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 3 hrs


Serves 2

This hearty, slow-cooked lamb dish is perfect for two to share as the nights start drawing in

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal1114
  • fat55g
  • saturates23g
  • carbs64g
  • sugars52g
  • fibre10g
  • protein95g
  • salt1.93g


  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 lamb shanks



    A lamb is a sheep that is under 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

  • 3 onions, sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp each cumin and coriander seeds, crushed
    Coriander seed

    Coriander seed

    kor-ee-and-er seed

    The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…

  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 4 dried apricots, chopped



    A relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry, apricots are fragrant, with a soft, velvety…

  • 4 dried figs, chopped



    Although not juicy, the fig is an incredibly luscious fruit, with a delicate aroma and sweet…

  • handful coriander, chopped


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Add 1 tbsp oil to a small, tight-lidded casserole and brown shanks for a couple of mins, turning as you go. Remove and set aside.

  2. Add remaining oil and onions to the pan and cook for about 10 mins until soft. Add garlic and spices and cook for 4 mins more. Tip in tomatoes and stock, then nestle the shanks back in on their sides. Bring to a boil, cover and put in the oven. Cook for 2 hrs: turn the shanks now and then.

  3. Remove the lid and stir through the molasses, apricots and figs. Cook, uncovered, for 30 mins more or until the meat is falling away from the bone.

  4. Remove shanks from the dish and wrap in foil to keep warm. Put the dish back onto the heat and cook down the juices until thick and saucy. Season, then serve the shanks, scattered with coriander, alongside the rice (see 'Goes well with', right).

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Comments, questions and tips

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14th May, 2018
Really liked this! Chose to do with mash and cabbage instead which went very well. I agree that you don't need all the stock or a whole can of tomatoes, possibly 400ml of stock and 300g of tomatoes would do the job well, but was delicious nonetheless. Also anyone asking for Pomegranate Molasses, you can get it from Sainsbury's. Would recommend!
3rd Nov, 2014
Made this is my slow cooker and ended with lamb shanks swimming in tomato soup! I had to empty the sauce in a saucepan, blend it a hand blender and boiled on a high heat for a good 45 minutes without a lid on to reduce to a sauce consistency. I agree with other reviewers that the tomato overpowered everything, so I added more spices to the sauce and a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly to make it sweeter. After this, the dish was absolutely DIVINE and restaurant quality. Everyone loved it, including a picky fussy 6 year old. So, next time I won't bother browning the lamb shanks, I will add either 2 tbsps. of tomato puree and 150ml of chicken stock OR 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes and no stock. Also, you don't need all that oil, the lamb shanks are fatty enough, just add 1 teaspoon of oil for the sauce. I will also add some redcurrant jelly or a tbsp of sugar and more cumin, more coriander, and more apricots (because everyone loved them, they swelled up in the sauce and were divine). Fish out the apricots after the lamb is cooked and blend everything together with a hand blender.
26th Nov, 2013
Very good! I didn't have any pomegranate molasses so replaced with a little black treacle. Easily made gluten-free.
16th Apr, 2013
Lovely! Made this in the slow cooker - the lamb was very tender so i pulled it and stirred into the sauce to make a stew. Served with the jewelled rice which was also delicious!
12th Feb, 2013
Excellent and very tasty easy to make
15th Dec, 2012
I didn't like this at all. I made it in the slow cooker and the lamb was very tender but the tin of tomatos overpowered everything and i didn't like the taste. This recipe was an expensive mistake for me.
6th Nov, 2012
This is a fab recipe. The lamb just fell off the bone and the sauce was delicious. Will definitely make again.
4th Oct, 2012
Like a number of other commentators, I couldn't find the pomegranate molasses so left it out but can't help feeling it lacked something as a result.
3rd Sep, 2012
one of my favorite recipes. the pomegranate molasses really makes it.
25th Dec, 2011
absolutely a hit. The pomegranate molasses makes it.


28th Jun, 2016
Can I do this recipe using a pressure cooked? Thanks.
2nd Nov, 2013
why does the print button end up with a print of the whole bloody webpage? come on bbc, we just want the recipe, not reams of extra pages printed that bear no relation to the recipe.
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