Lamb Orange Khoresh Lamb Shank Redemption

Adapted from Crazy Water Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry

2008 Sep/Oct

A khoresh is a Persian stew. We’re turning it into an overnight braise.


  • Olive oil
  • 6 meaty lamb shanks, trimmed of fat
  • 3 oranges
  • 2 large onions, thickly sliced
  • 1 T sugar
  • 3 large carrots, cut into thick slices crosswise or lengthwise
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground cardamom
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1 c. lamb, chicken or vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful of mint leaves, torn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 t. orange flower water
  • Chopped pistachios and torn mint leaves (garnish)


Turn oven on to 200°F. Heat the oil in a large Le Creuset-style pot with a lid that doesn’t have a rubber or plastic handle. Brown the lamb shanks in batches over medium-high heat, then set aside.

While you are browning the shanks, zest the 3 oranges in long, thin strips, then cut the pith off the oranges and divide the oranges into segments. Cover the segments and refrigerate. Reserve the zest.

When the shanks are done, toss the onions into the hot oil (add a bit more oil if needed), sprinkle with sugar to encourage them to caramelize, and cook over medium high heat until a bit browned. Add the carrots and continue to cook until browned a bit. Turn the heat to medium, sprinkle with cinnamon and cardamom, stir and continue to cook a few more minutes. Add the orange juice, stock, lime juice and mint leaves, and make sure the vegetables are well-covered by the liquids. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the shanks to the pot along with the reserved orange zest. Push the shanks into the juices and vegetables so they are mostly covered. Pop into the oven and go to bed.

Next morning, lamb and vegetable go into a bowl, cover, and into the fridge. Juices into another bowl, cover, into the fridge. At dinnertime, remove the fat from the juices; juices, lamb and vegetable into pot, pot on stove to heat up with the orange flower water and the reserved orange segments stirred in. When the khoresh is hot, serve it in wide bowls with rice, garnished with more mint and pistachios. Serves 6.