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The spicy flavors of the legendary "Silk Road", all encompassed around succulent shanks of lamb braised in a wine and prune sauce. Plate these atop an Armenian rice or bulgour pilaf and a green salad and sit back and enjoy the accolades.

The "Silk Road" was the passage way from Europe to Asia and back again. It was the route Europeans and Middle Easterners took to the Orient to trade goods for silks and spices. In the process, the cuisines of at least two continents were forever melded together. Marco Polo and his introduction of Chinese pasta to a hungry Europe is a prime example of the importance of this long and sometimes treacherous route. Lamb shanks are a delight from Italy to the Asian continent, and it is no wonder that the lamb eaters of the Middle East would encompass it in their diet.


●  2 tablespoons paprika 

●  1 tablespoons ground, toasted cumin seed 

●  2 teaspoons ground cardamom 

●  2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

●  1 teaspoon allspice 

●  ½ teaspoon ground cloves 

●  1 teaspoon salt 

●  1 teaspoon ground black pepper 

●  4 lamb shanks, about 1 to 1½ pounds each 

●  ¼ cup olive oil 

●  2 large onions, chopped, about 2 cups 

●  ½ pound prune plums, cut in half and stones removed 

●  ¼ cup sugar 

●  1 cup good red wine,  A good Zinfandel,  Chianti,  or Barbera
 will do nicely
●  2 cups chicken stock 

●  Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


1.  Mix the paprika, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, all spice, cloves, salt and pepper in a bowl.

2.  Rub the spice mix onto the lamb shanks creating a spice covering that coats the shanks completely.
     Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven. Add the seasoned lamb shanks to the hot
     dutch oven and brown the lamb shanks well on all sides. Remove the lamb shanks and set aside.

3.  Add the onions and begin to brown them stirring occasionally. Add the plums that you have pitted
     along with the sugar and cook for a few minutes with the onions. With a slotted spoon, remove the
     onions and plums and set aside.

4.  Add the white wine and cook down by half.

5.  Return the lamb shanks, onions and plums to the pot.

6.  Add the chicken stock.

7.  Adjust the seasoning, set at a simmer, cover and cook for 1½ to 2 hours or until the lamb is fork
     tender and falling off the bone.

8.  Serve with rice or bulghur pilaf

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