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Pomegranate-Merlot Braised Lamb Shanks


Pomegranate juice lends a sweet-tart flavor to this slow-cooked lamb dish, while cinnamon, cumin and allspice add an undertone of spicy warmth. Serve over couscous to soak up the delicious sauce.

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  • 4 1/2 pounds lamb shanks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablesoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup Merlot
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 6 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Cooked couscous for serving


Servings 4
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 220mins


Step 1

Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In the stovetop-safe insert of a slow cooker over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the lamb on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.

Warm 1 tablespoon oil in the insert. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, allspice and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the wine and pomegranate juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the honey, broth, salt, pepper and lamb.

Transfer the insert to the slow-cooker base. Cover and cook on high according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 3 hours. Add the carrots and cook until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour more.

Transfer the lamb and carrots to a large platter. Skim the excess fat off the sauce. Set the insert over high heat and boil until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Pour the sauce over the lamb and sprinkle with the parsley and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately with couscous. Serves 6.

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