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Armenian style lamb shanks with barley risotto by Chef Bonnie Morales

Difficulty 4/5
Prep time 20 mins

Cook time 8 hrs
Serves 4-6

Hardwood Cherry

Diversify your recipe portfolio with this spiced up lamb dish. Pomegranate molasses mixed with the perfect amount of spice will make those taste buds sing a sweet, sweet melody.


2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground fenugreek

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cayenne

1 tsp ground tumeric

3 tbsp + 2 tsp kosher salt

4 lamb hind shanks

2 qt lamb or beef stock

1 cup pearled barley

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, small dice

1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

2 tbsp butter


In a small bowl, combine pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, garlic powder, cinnamon, fenugreek, cumin, cayenne, turmeric and 1 tbsp of the salt.

Mix until the mixture turns into a uniform paste. Spice paste can be made up to a week in advance. Refrigerate if making ahead.

Prepare lamb shanks by removing silver skin and large tendons. Evenly rub 1/4 of the spice paste on each shank and place shanks in refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

To cook the lamb shanks: Place shanks in large cast iron skillet (or any oven proof vessel) and cover halfway with lamb stock.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 300 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 minutes.

Cook for 7 to 8 hours turning shanks over every hour. Add more lamb stock to skillet as needed. Shanks are ready when the meat is tender and beginning to fall away from the bone.

When the lamb is in its last hour of cooking, start the barley risotto. Heat 1 quart of the lamb or beef stock to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium pot, heat olive oil and add onions to pot. Sauté onion until softened. Add barley and toast for about two minutes, stirring. Add 1 cup of stock, and the 2 tsp of salt.

Cook, stirring occasionally, on low heat until the barley has fully absorbed the liquid. Repeat this step, adding 1/2 a cup of stock at a time until the barley is completely cooked through.

Add parmigiano reggiano and butter and stir to incorporate. Taste and add salt as needed.

Serve lamb with barley risotto. Enjoy!

This recipe was provided by our friend Chef Bonnie Morales from Kachka. Check out more of her recipes and photos on her Instagram @kachkapdx.

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