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23 Mar 2022

Theo Michaels’ Cypriot lamb shanks in sticky sauce

Theo Michaels’ Cypriot lamb shanks in sticky sauce
Recipe taken from Orexi by Theo Michaels (Ryland Peters & Small, £18.99) Photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small

Drawing culinary inspiration from his Greek Cypriot roots, Theo appears regularly on TV and is an award-winning author, having written seven cookbooks, two of which have won Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. See him on the main stage on Sunday 17 July.

Serves 4
Takes 3 hours


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp ground cloves or 5 whole cloves
  • 250ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp Greek honey
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 100g pitted ready to eat prunes (or apricots)
  • 500ml passata
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp toasted pistachio nuts, chopped, to garnish
  • generous pinch of dried rose petals, to garnish
  • freshly chopped coriander, to garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Season the lamb shanks generously and brown them in hot olive oil in a lidded ovenproof pan until browned all over, then remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, fry the onions slowly for about 10 mins until they have coloured and turned a deep golden hue, then add the garlic and cook for a few more mins.
  3. Add all the spices and stir through to coat the onions, then add the wine. Cook over a high heat to reduce the wine by half. This will concentrate the flavour of the sauce.
  4. Finally, add the pomegranate molasses, honey, bay leaves, prunes, passata and season, then return the lamb shanks to the pan, bottom-side down, so the bone is sticking up. Slowly add about 500ml of water, just enough to cover the meat (the bones can stick out). Bring this to a simmer, then cover and place in the preheated oven for 2 hours.
  5. Once done, remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for 10 mins before removing the lid.
  6. Serve the lamb shanks sitting upright, with a few ladles of the juice poured over. Garnish with the pistachios and rose petals, as well as some freshly chopped coriander, if you like.

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