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Turkish-Style Lamb Shanks Braised with Vegetables
Lamb is the most commonly eaten meat in Turkey, and Turkish lamb dishes are among the best in the world

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 trimmed lamb shanks (about 41/2 pounds total)
8 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 to 4 hot chilies (like serranos or jalapeños), seeded, if desired, and chopped
12 garlic cloves, minced
12 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 imported bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley plus additional for garnish
4 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large, deep Dutch oven over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions and set aside. Add the lamb shanks, in batches if necessary, and brown all sides, about 15 minutes. Stir in the browned onions, tomatoes, chilies, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, cumin, cloves, and allspice, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the water, cover, and cook at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Remove the lamb shanks with tongs, and when cool enough to handle remove and shred the meat. Try to get some of the marrow from the bones, and add the meat and marrow to the Dutch oven with the parsley and roasted peppers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes longer, adding a bit more water, if necessary. Serve hot with rice.

Lamb is the most commonly eaten meat in Turkey, and Turkish lamb dishes are among the best in the world. This is so, in part, because Turkish sheep graze on wild thyme. Our American sheep don't -- so we've added some thyme to the following to compensate. This is a dish for guests who don't like dealing with bones at the table though you could leave the meat on the bones if desired. Serves 4