Lamb Shanks Braise with Figs and Root Vegetables

This image courtesy of Mark T. Shapiro

Serve this easy, fullflavored stew on couscous studded with lots of chopped fresh coriander.

NotesCouscous, a type of North African granular pasta, is available in a precooked form in most grocery stores. Unless the box instructions tell you otherwise, for 4 servings, bring 1½ cups (375 mL) water to a boil and stir in 1 cup (250 mL) couscous. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in chopped fresh coriander or parsley. Couscous, enlivened with any herb, goes well with most stews.

Makes4 servings

Cooking Methodbaking, braising


Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Moodadventurous, blue

Taste and Texturebubbly, meaty, savory, spiced, sweet, umami

Type of Dishcasserole


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) dried basil
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) paprika
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander
  • 1 cup (250 mL) dry red wine
  • 2½ cups (625 mL) chicken stock
  • ½ cup (125 mL) chopped drained canned tomatoes
  • 1 pkg (8 oz/250 g) dried figs
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 2 white summer turnips, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes


  1. Lightly sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper to taste; coat all over with flour. In large Dutch oven, heat half of the oil; brown shanks, in batches and adding more oil when needed. Remove to plate.

  2. Stir in any remaining flour, garlic, basil, paprika, thyme, cumin and coriander; cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring. Stir in wine; bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Stir in 1½ cups (375 mL) of the stock and tomatoes. Return shanks and any juices. With scissors, cut stems from figs; quarter figs and add to stew. Bring to boil; cover and bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 2 hours or until lamb is very tender, stirring occasionally.

  3. Meanwhile, in deep skillet or shallow stovetop casserole, melt butter and sugar over medium heat; stir in onions, carrots, parsnips and turnips until coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add remaining stock and bring to boil. Bake, uncovered and stirring occasionally, in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir into cooked shanks. (Stew can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days; reheat slowly on stovetop, stirring often, or in 350°F/180°C oven, covered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly.)

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