Flavorful Persian Braised Lamb Shanks


This lamb shank is tender, juicy, and so flavorful. It is an authentic Persian recipe passed down from my father who was born in Tehran, Iran. It does take a lot of time to prepare but it's worth it. My friends and family say it's comparable to something served in a 5-star restaurant. Serve with seasoned lentils, white rice, dill rice, or rice with lima beans. This is a dish to impress, perfect for the holidays!

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs
4 servings


  • 4 lamb shanks

  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided

  • 4 tablespoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • cup hot water

  • 2 limes, juiced

  • 2 teaspoons rosewater

  • ¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron

  • ½ cup red wine

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  • 3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked

  • ½ teaspoon grated lime zest

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 6 cups hot chicken broth


  1. Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil over lamb shanks and cover with salt.

  2. Mix turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over lamb shanks. Let lamb shanks marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Cook and stir onion until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

  4. Whisk hot water, lime juice, rose water, and saffron together in a small bowl. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

  5. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook lamb shanks in batches until browned, 5 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb shanks to a plate.

  6. Whisk wine into the pot, scraping any browned bits off the bottom. Add onion and garlic mixture, steeped saffron mixture, parsley, thyme, lime zest, and bay leaves. Return lamb shanks to the pot. Cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until lamb shanks are tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

  7. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

  8. Uncover pot and simmer until broth reduces slightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer lamb shanks to an oven-safe dish.

  9. Place lamb shanks in the preheated oven to keep warm.

  10. Bring broth to a boil; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Spoon broth over lamb shanks.

Cook's Note:

Substitute water for the chicken broth if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

432 Calories
27g Fat
13g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 432
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 97mg 32%
Sodium 8488mg 369%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 16mg 80%
Calcium 62mg 5%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 522mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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