I know I’ve been on a bit of a middle-eastern kick recently. I’ve been mowing through hummus, pita, harissa, and so on for a few weeks now. I can’t help it, though, it’s delicious! This isn’t any dish in particular, just something I’ve made with ingredients I’ve had on hand, and it’s been pretty good. It only makes a few servings, restricted as it is by the fact that lamb shanks don’t really have all that much meat on them, and so we’ve never really kept any around - it always disappears.


  • 1 lamb shank (1-3 lbs)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 14 cup rice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups broth or water
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 1 tbsp savory
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage


  1. Sautée the savory in the olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy skillet briefly, strain if desired.
  2. Rub the harissa, sumac, and sage on the lamb shank and brown evenly in the oil on all sides.
  3. Add 2 cups broth or water carefully. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the lamb is fork-tender (about 30 minutes per pound).
  4. Remove the lamb to a plate and re-cover the pot. Allow the lamb to cool before slicing it from the bone and trimming. Return the bone and trimmings to the pot and simmer for another 2-3 hours, adding more liuid as necessary. Slice the lamb into bite-sized pieces and store in the fridge.
  5. After the bone and trimmings have had their time in the broth, remove them and add the onions, tomatoes, sliced meat from the shank, and rice to the broth. Replenish the broth with water if needed. You may also add additional seasonings such as more harissa or salt at this point. Return to a simmer and leave covered for half an hour or so, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking.

I’ve not yet had the chance yet but it might be worth exploring adding additional items to the stew portion. Parsnips were suggested, but I have a phobia (long story); almonds might go well, too, as might a few pieces of diced up dried fruit such as apricot or plum, or even sultanas near the end of cooking. Serve with a salad and some Ouzo. Or skip the Ouzo and leave it for me.