Greek lamb shanks with rice and lemon

Author: Ottolenghi recipe shared by Nella Serves: 4 Time: 3h

Difficulty: moderate


  • olive oil
  • 200g shallots, peeled and halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 large celery sticks, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces (optional)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 small cinnamon sticks
  • The peel of 1 lemon, plus 60ml juice
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp dried mint
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 1 egg
  • 10g mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 10g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
  • 200g Greek yoghurt (optional)


Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large casserole on a medium-high heat. Fry the shallots for three to four minutes, stirring regularly, until well browned, then remove from the pan and set aside (they’ll be cooked more later on, with the rice). Keep the pan on the heat.

Season the shanks with a teaspoon and a half of salt and a teaspoon of pepper in total, then brown in the hot fat for six to eight minutes, turning regularly, until coloured all over. Add the carrot, celery, bay leaves, cinnamon, lemon peel and stock – the shanks should be almost submerged in the liquid. Cover and leave to simmer on a low heat for an hour and 45 minutes, turning the shanks once or twice, until the meat is tender and starting to fall off the bone. Lift out the shanks and set aside with the shallots. Strain the stock and set aside. Discard all the aromatics except the cinnamon.

 Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Wipe clean the casserole and return it to a medium heat with a tablespoon of oil. Fry the ground cumin for a couple of seconds, then add the dried mint, rice and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Stir to coat the rice in oil, then pour on 670ml of the strained cooking liquor. Return the shanks to the pot (stand them up in the rice, if you can), add the reserved cinnamon and fried shallots, cover and bake for 30 – 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg and lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour 60ml of the remaining stock into a small saucepan (refrigerate or freeze the rest; you should have about 300ml left over). Bring to a boil, then slowly whisk the hot stock into the egg and lemon mix.

Remove the lamb pot from the oven, pour the egg mixture evenly over the meat and rice, sprinkle over half the herbs and take to the table. Serve from the pot, adding the remaining herbs as each portion is plated. Eat with a big dollop of Greek yoghurt and a steamed vegetable.


  • I cooked the shanks in morning and set aside. Completed the rice cooking in the evening (an hour from oven to table)
  • Reduced olive oil (O suggested 90ml) 
  • We don’t like texture of celery in our house – replaced with lovage when added stock

Story of the recipe

I’m unsure if this is appropriate as it’s an Ottolenghi recipe (huge fan of his cooking) but I made it tonight and would make once a month!

It’s a winter – hearty weekend dish, usually though with ‘lockdown’ I have more time in kitchen!

Bon appetit

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