November 18, 2022

Braised Lamb Shanks with Dried Persian Limes

Recipe: Bonnie Stern & Anna Rupert

“The Persian flavors of the lamb are a different combination for most people. Now that Middle Eastern ingredients are easier to find, it makes this dish more accessible.” — Bonnie Stern.


  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 lamb shanks, 10 to 12 oz. each (see note at end of recipe)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 lb.), leaves and stems chopped separately
  • 6 garlic cloves, gently smashed
  • 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4 Dried Persian limes, gently cracked or carefully pierced with knife
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 3 cups chicken or beef broth, or water
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned or freshly cooked)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • Additional chopped fresh cilantro, dill and/or parsley


Yield: Serves 8


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Sprinkle meat generously with salt and pepper. In batches, brown shanks well on all sides (do not overcrowd pan). Repeat until all lamb is browned. Set aside.
  2. Add onions to pot and cook for a few minutes, until wilted. Add chopped Swiss chard stems and cook for a few minutes longer with onions. Add garlic, fenugreek leaves, cumin, allspice and turmeric. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, or until fragrant.
  3. Add Swiss chard leaves, cilantro, dill and parsley, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until leaves turn dark. Add dried limes, pomegranate molasses, broth, 2 tsp salt and lamb, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover surface with parchment paper, then cover tightly with lid or aluminum foil (I use both because my lid doesn’t fit perfectly). Transfer pot to oven and cook for 1 hour. Then add cooked chickpeas and cook for 60 to 90 minutes longer, or until lamb is very tender and falling off the bones. The herbs and greens will be dark green and a little mushy — perfect.
  4. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped fresh herbs. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Note: If your lamb shanks are too large for a single serving, once they are tender, remove the meat in chunks from the bone and serve it boneless. Dried Persian limes are available at any Middle Eastern market or spice shop. In Toronto, I buy them at Ararat. They can also be ground up and used as a seasoning.

Author: Alexandra Whyte

Tyler Anderson


Recipe excerpted from Don’t Worry, Just Cook by Bonnie Stern and Anna Rupert, published by Appetite by Random House, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada. ©2022 Bonnie Stern Cooking Schools and Anna Rupert. Food photography by Tyler Anderson. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.