Khorak Ghosht-e Bareh (Slow-Braised Lamb)

Braise lamb with cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, and cumin for this Persian dish worthy of any celebration meal.

Khorak Ghosht-e Bareh (Slow Braised Lamb Shoulder)

Ellen Silverman

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 10 mins
6 to 8 servings

Nasim Alikhani, chef and owner of Sofreh in New York City, shares her recipe for Khorak Ghosht-e Bareh (Slow-Braised Lamb), a satisfying and comforting lamb dish that becomes tender during its long braising time. Cinnamon sticks impart flavor and aroma, while the onions become silky and tender, adding body to the sauce. 

While Alikhani prefers bone-in lamb shoulder when she prepares this recipe for her Nowruz celebrations, we’ve adapted this version using more readily available boneless leg of lamb without sacrificing any of the flavor. Low and slow are the keys to the aromatic, tender braise. This dish tastes great fresh from the oven and even better the next day, making it the perfect main dish for celebrations and gatherings.

While most grocery stores carry leg of lamb, contact your local butcher to source the correct size if needed.


  • 6 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed

  • 8 medium garlic cloves, halved lengthwise

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground turmeric, divided 

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, divided

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 2 pounds Spanish onions or white onions, sliced (about 7 cups)

  • 2 teaspoons sun-dried tomato powder (such as Burlap & Barrel) (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 cups dry white wine

  • 1 cup lamb stock or beef stock

  • 8 fresh or dried bay leaves

  • 2 (2 1/2-inch) cinnamon sticks


  1. Place lamb on a large cutting board or baking sheet. Using a knife, cut 16 (3/4-inch-deep) slits all over lamb. Stuff 1 garlic clove half into each slit. Rub 1 tablespoon salt evenly over lamb. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon turmeric and 1 teaspoon pepper; rub into lamb using hands. Sprinkle flour evenly over lamb.

  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat oil in a 12-inch-wide Dutch oven or deep pot over high. Add lamb, and sear on both sides until lamb is browned and crusty, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer lamb to a large plate.

  3. Reduce heat under Dutch oven to medium-high. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add sun-dried tomato powder (if using), cumin, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, remaining 2 teaspoons turmeric, and remaining 2 teaspoons pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Nestle lamb into onion mixture, and spoon about half of onions over lamb. Place bay leaves and cinnamon sticks around lamb. Cover Dutch oven, and cook in preheated oven 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F (do not remove lamb from oven), and braise 1 hour.

  4. Carefully remove pot from oven. Remove and discard bay leaves and cinnamon. Flip lamb over. Cover and braise at 375°F until lamb is completely tender and braising liquid is thickened, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove from oven; uncover and let rest 30 minutes.

  5. Transfer lamb to a large cutting board; break into large chunks using tongs or a fork. Return lamb to Dutch oven, allowing braising liquid to coat lamb pieces.

To Make Ahead

Lamb can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored with braising liquid in an airtight container in refrigerator. Reheat, covered, in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes; stir and continue to heat, covered, 15 minutes.

Suggested Pairing

Robust, savory California red: Seabold Four Sisters Grenache

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