Braised Lamb Shank and Okra Stew

stews braised lamb shank okra
Photo: Bobbi Lin

Also known as okra salouna, this flavor-packed Emirati stew combines two beloved Arabian Gulf ingredients: lamb and okra.


For the Lamb Shanks

  • 4 lamb shanks (1 to 1 ¼ pounds each)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons Arabic Spice Blend

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes

  • 4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed

  • 2 bay leaves

  • Pinch of saffron threads

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 pound small okra, halved lengthwise

For the Cilantro Condiment

  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro sprigs, finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Make the lamb shanks: Allow lamb to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Working in batches, add lamb and cook until brown on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer lamb to a bowl.

  2. Add onions and spice blend to pot and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and add cherry tomatoes, stock, cardamom, bay leaves, saffron, and cinnamon to pot. Return lamb to pot and bring mixture to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook, turning halfway through, until meat is tender and falling off the bone, about 3 hours.

  3. Just before serving, bring salted water to a boil in a medium saute pan. Add okra and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

  4. Remove lamb from pot and skim any fat. Return lamb to pot along with cooked okra. Gently stir to combine.

  5. Make the cilantro condiment: Combine cilantro, garlic, lemon zest, and oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon over lamb before serving.

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