Sweet spiced lamb shanks with quince

Sweet spiced lamb shanks with quince

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(7 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 3 hrs


Serves 4
A cross between a Persian stew and Moroccan tagine, the spices in this slow cooked one-pot are mellow. Serve with rice, couscous or flatbreads

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal624
  • fat36g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs14g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre2g
  • protein59g
  • salt0.4g


  • 1 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…

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • large knob of butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 2 large onions, halved then cut into wedges



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

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 strips zest from 1 unwaxed lemon, plus the juice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • good pinch of saffron strands (optional)



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 400ml good lamb or beef stock
  • 2 quinces, peeled, quartered and cored



    The two different shapes - apple and pear in which quinces grow are an obvious clue to the…


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Season the shanks, then brown in the oil for 10 mins, or until dark golden all over.

  2. Meanwhile, in a casserole dish or large pan, melt the butter. Soften the onions for 10 mins on a medium heat until they’re turning golden, then add the garlic. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

  3. Add the strips of lemon zest and spices to the onion pan. Cook for 1 min, then stir in the tomato purée, honey, stock and half the lemon juice. Sit the shanks in the pan, then poke the quince quarters in and around the meat. (It might be quite a tight fit, but the meat will shrink as it cooks.) Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and braise in the oven for 2 hrs.

  4. Remove the lid and cook for 30 mins more. Spoon away any excess fat. The sauce will be fairly thin, so if you prefer a thicker stew, remove the lamb and quinces to a serving plate, then boil the cooking juices until thickened. Season, add the lemon juice and serve with the lamb.

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Comments, questions and tips

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saralcoyle's picture
18th Jul, 2020
This is such a flavoursome dish and as been very popular when I have cooked it. I could not get quinces so used quince jelly and missed out the honey, fantastic recipe.
Richard Holman's picture
Richard Holman
1st Feb, 2020
I live in Morocco and my maid cooks this for me whenever quince are in season. There is not really any substitute for the quince, if they are not in season cook something else. I did live in Iran at one time and although quince are a popular cooking ingredient I see no similarity with Persian cuisine. My maid does not use honey and not that much cinnamon or rather she uses a piece of cinnamon and removes it when serving. She also cooks in a tagine of course. Incidentally Moroccans never serve tagines with couscous always with flatbread.
30th Mar, 2016
The peel/zest combined with the spices and lamb given the most delicious aroma. I have prepared this twice now and didn't use the Quince - couldn't get them. I only use 1/2 of the honey and add a bit of cayenne chili powder. Also i don't pre-brown the shanks. they automatically get browned in the oven.
2nd Mar, 2016
The lamb with the combination of the spices was just incredible. I added some extra lamb spices and a bit of wine to mine. Will definitely do this again
8th Oct, 2014
I am lucky, I live in Spain and have a quince tree in the lane. Also it is available in the shops, ready to use. It is fantastic with pork. I really like lamb shanks and I am going to make this for friends who love rustic type dishes. I will let you know how it goes.
23rd Feb, 2014
Very helpful as I was given quinces as a present and had no idea what to do with them! This was just delicious!
Annie Baloo
28th Oct, 2013
Tried this recipe last night as I'm lucky enough to have a bumper crop of quinces in my garden this year. The lamb was meltingly tender and the combination of spices worked really well. Served with couscous and a nice Rioja, this was a hit!
6th Oct, 2013
Decided to try the recipe even though Tesco did not have any quince. The lamb was very tender however the cinnamon was over powering and spoilt the dish. I would recommend half the quantity stated. I will not be making again as there are other nicer recipes for lamb shank than this. The following recipe is the best yet http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rioja-braised_lamb_66249
2nd Oct, 2013
2 quinces? Not in Sainsburys!
28th Oct, 2013
not in asda or morrisons either - morrisons greengrocer said they weren't allowed to sell them because of the risk of toxicity if they weren't cooked properly (!!!?????) Waitrose list them as stocked, but no local availability anywhere. I substituted persimmon fruit which was interesting and not unpleasant. Really liked the spicing generally, went down well for Sunday lunch.


Gordon Foster's picture
Gordon Foster
20th Jun, 2018
I live in Ottawa, Canada and do not have quince (and rarely hear of them). What can I use as a substitute? Would dates or apricots work instead?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Jun, 2018
Hi Gordon, thank you for your question. We haven't tested this recipe with alternatives but would suggest trying a firm variety of pear.
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