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Braised Lamb Shanks & Eggplant

  • 30 m
  • 2 h 30 m
Sheilah Kaufman
“This slow-cooked lamb and eggplant stew melts in your mouth. Sumac, a lemony-flavored spice, gives the dish a fruity, tangy aroma. Look for it in Mediterranean markets or spice shops. Serve the stew over mashed root vegetables, bulgur or brown rice.”


    • 1½ pounds eggplant (see Tip), peeled
    • 4 12-ounce lamb shanks (about 3 pounds), trimmed
    • 2 tablespoons ground sumac, divided
    • 1¼ teaspoons salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
    • 5 plum tomatoes, diced
    • 1 cup water
    • ½ cup finely chopped parsley, divided


  • 1 Slice eggplant lengthwise into ½ -inch-wide slices, then crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces; set aside. Rub lamb shanks with 1 tablespoon sumac, salt and pepper.
  • 2 Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven (or other 5- to 6-quart pot) over medium-high heat. Add the lamb; cook, turning often, until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes total. (Don't overcrowd the pan; brown in batches if necessary.) Transfer to a plate.
  • 3 Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot; add bell pepper, onion, 2 minced garlic cloves and the remaining 1 tablespoon sumac. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pot. Stir in the eggplant, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally and turning the shanks over once about halfway through, until the lamb is very tender, about 2 hours.
  • 4 Remove the lamb to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Increase heat to medium-high and cook the sauce until slightly reduced and thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ cup parsley.
  • 5 Combine the remaining ¼ cup parsley and the remaining garlic in a small bowl.
  • 6 Serve the lamb and vegetable sauce topped with the parsley-garlic mixture.
  • Tip: If you're using large, common globe eggplant, which can be more bitter than other varieties, salting beforehand can reduce bitterness. To salt: Place prepped eggplant in a large colander over a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon salt. Top the eggplant with a plate weighted down with cans. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using. Rinse well with cold water, then dry with paper towels.
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