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Exclusive Recipe by Chef Aliya Leekong

Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks

Trained at the French Culinary Institute, Chef Aliya Leekong has spent the last few years in highly impressive kitchens in and around New York City, including Per Se, Jean Georges, Devi and now, recently Michelin-starred Junoon.

Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks


Serves 4

  • 4 lamb shanks (approximately 1 ¼ lbs each)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 tbsps clarified butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2-3 whole cloves
  • ½ tsp white cumin seeds
  • 2 Spanish onions, cut into a medium dice
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2” piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsps tomato purée
  • 3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground hot Indian chili
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika
  • ½ tsp ground garam masala
  • ½ tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 4 ½ cups lamb stock*


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Bring the lamb shanks up to room temperature by leaving out of the refrigerator at least a half hour before cooking.  Dry the shanks off thoroughly and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add clarified butter and sear the lamb shanks for 2-3 minutes per side. Don’t overcrowd the pan so work in 2 batches if necessary.
  • You want to develop a nice, deep brown on the shanks.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Pour off any excess fat save 2 to 3 tablespoons and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the whole spices.  When they start to pop, add the onions, garlic and ginger, and a bit of salt to draw out the moisture.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes until softened and lightly browned.  Add the tomato paste and cook for another 3 minutes and then add in the chopped plum tomatoes. 
  • Cook for another few minutes until the tomatoes start to break down.
  • Add the spices and stir to combine, and then add in the stock.
  • Nestle the lamb shanks back into pot and pour in any juices that have accumulated.  Cover and bring up to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, place the covered pot into the oven.  Cook for 3 ½ to 4 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.
  • Remove the lamb shanks and skim off any fat that has accumulated. Blend remaining sauce in a blender to a uniform texture.  Serve lamb shank over basmati rice with a bit of sauce.

 *Chicken or beef stock may be substituted if lamb stock isn’t available.  Chicken stock will lighten the dish a bit, whereas beef stock will add richness.