Braised Lamb Shanks with Kabocha Squash

Braised Lamb Shanks and Kabocha Squash | Black Girl Chef's Whites


This goes into the “Big Bowl of Comfort” category. Braised Lamb Shanks with Kabocha Squash melts in your mouth, warms your belly and fills you with a sense of well being and love. Isn’t that what comfort food is supposed to do?  Yes, that may be pure hyperbole, but this really is a lovely dish.

Cooking the shanks low and slow ensures that the meat literally falls off the bone when done. Marinating the shanks in warming spices and aromatics for 24 to 48 hours ensures the flavor is deep and rich.

Kabocha squash is widely available in grocery stores now. My absolute favorite winter squash, kabocha is so versatile to cook. Kabocha can be steamed, baked, roasted, stuffed, fried in tempura batter, made into soup, used in a stew. The uses are myriad, and the flavor and texture are like a cross between a potato and a pumpkin.  If you cannot find a kabocha squash, ask your produce manager to order them. You can substitute with another winter squash, such as acorn or butternut squash.


Braised Lamb Shanks and Kabocha Squash | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Braised Lamb Shanks with Kabocha Squash
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 lamb shanks, trimmed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 pounds Kabocha squash, peeled cut into 1 inch cubes
  1. Place the lamb shanks into a resealable plastic bag.
  2. In a small bowl combine the onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and Aleppo pepper.
  3. Rub the marinade into the lamb shanks, seal the bag and marinate the lamb for a minimum of 24 hours up to 48 hours.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy braising pot or Dutch oven.
  5. Remove the lamb shanks from the marinade, reserving the onions and garlic.
  6. Over medium high heat brown the lamb shanks on all sides.
  7. Remove the shanks and reserve on a plate.
  8. Add the reserved marinated onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, cook for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Add the chicken broth, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  10. Return the shanks to the pot.
  11. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot.
  12. Cook for 2 hours, checking the liquid level on occasion.
  13. Stir in the squash.
  14. If needed, add more water or broth to the pot to ensure the squash has enough liquid to cook.
  15. Cover the pot, cook an additional 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.


**Have your butcher trim the lamb shanks of any extra fat and silver skin.


Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce sent the Kabocha Squash for recipe development.

Are you Ready for Easter?

It is Spring! Once again I am wondering where the time went? Wasn’t it just Christmas? Oh well, spring is my favorite season, because the flowers bloom and the trees grow new leaves. And my allergies are out of control.


But who cares, its Spring! In case you are a little behind, like I am, here are a few recipes that would be perfect for Easter dinner.


Asparagus-Tarragon Quiche


Goat’s Milk Asparagus-Tarragon Quiche | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Macaroni and Cheese


Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Roasted Lemon-Oregano Leg of Lamb


Lemon-Oregano Leg of Lamb | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Fennel and Onion Baked Chicken


Fennel and Onion Baked Chicken | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Lentils and Crunchy Greens  with Sour Cream Dressing


Lentils and Crunchy Greens with Sour Cream-Tarragon Dressing | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Lamb with Fresh Herb Rub


 Spring Lamb with Fresh Herb Rub
Spring Lamb with Fresh Herb Rub


Lentil and Chevre Salad


Lentil and Chevre Salad | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Roasted Asparagus            


Roasted Asparagus | Black Girl Chef's Whites



Tri-Color Quinoa Salad


Tri-Color Quinoa Salad

Middle Eastern Lamb Meatballs

Ground lamb, unlike ground beef, is not a meat that graces the American table as often as it should. Shepherds Pie is one of the few dishes that has ground lamb as an ingredient, but it is often substituted with ground beef or ground turkey.

Lamb is a very popular meat in other areas of the world, including Europe, countries along the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Asia. Australia and New Zealand not only eat a good amount of lamb, but export it to others countries, as well.

This simple recipe for lamb meatballs makes cooking lamb accessible to all. The meatballs make an excellent appetizer or hors d’oeuvre. Serve the meatballs along with rice pilaf and a salad for a delicious meal.


Recipe: Middle Eastern Lamb Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed marash chile pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth


  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
  2. Pinch off about a tablespoon of meat at a time, rolling it between your palms, forming the meat into small meatballs.
  3. Heat the oil over medium high flame in a large nonstick skillet.
  4. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken broth, cover the pan, and let the meatballs cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

Braised Curry Lamb Chops and Potatoes

I love technology, but sometimes it doesn’t like me. And I guess if I was my old organized, super efficient self than this would not be a problem. But sometime after giving birth I lost all my ability to organize, think rationally and sometimes my common sense.

Usually when I am developing recipes I have my laptop in the kitchen with me, and I type it out as I go. My instructions are usually ultra-abbreviated, but that is how I was taught to write recipes in a busy professional kitchen. I translate them into actual sentences later for the general public.

For some reason, on the day I was making these lamb chops I did not have my laptop, so I scribbled out the basic recipe on a shopping list pad. And then I left the piece of paper on the counter, where cats, kids and old ladies all had the chance to throw my recipe away! See what I mean about common sense. . .

Luckily I found the paper, and though I still did not have my laptop, I was smart enough to make it a note in my iphone. And I threw away that scrap of paper. Life went on, more recipes were developed and I forgot all about my poor little lamb chops.

While editing a ridiculous amount of photographs I came upon my lamb chops! Yay, I thought, let me get these up on the blog right away! And then I could not find the recipe. I frantically looked for that piece of paper everywhere! No recipe. Was it in my “Recipes being Tested” folder? No. Was it in my Evernote recipe file? No. Was it in my Microsoft word recipe file? No. Sigh. . . I began to think I might have to recreate the recipe again.

Then one day while looking through the notes on my phone, low and behold I found my recipe!  Lesson learned, do not start a new recipe without my laptop handy or at least a dedicated recipe notebook!

So without further ado, here is the delicious Braised Curry Lamb Chops and Potatoes!

Recipe: Braised Curry Lamb Chops and Potatoes


  • 6 lamb loin chops
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons curry powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 pounds small waxy potatoes, such as red or yukon gold, cut into quarters
  • 32 ounces chicken broth


  1. Place the lamb chops onto a large plate.
  2. In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons of the curry powder and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Spread the curry paste over the entire surface of the lamb chops.
  3. Let the chops marinate at least one hour to overnight.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium high heat.
  5. Brown the lamb chops well on both sides, then remove to a plate.
  6. Lower the heat to medium low.
  7. Add the sliced onion, remaining curry powder, sea salt and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is softened and the spices are fragrant.
  8. Pour in the broth, and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any bit crusted on.
  9. Add the lamb chops and potatoes, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  10. Braise the lamb for 20-25 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the potatoes are cooked through.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

The Black Girl is Back!

Somehow, I have managed to not pull every hair out of my head this past week! Who knew moving a blog from one server to another could be so harrowing? Car accidents are harrowing, not blog migrations. Well, I have come out the other side, and I am a stronger woman for it! (OK, not really, but I like how dramatic that sentence reads.)

Last week I hopped on a plane headed to New York for a little relaxation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference. New York is the perfect place to hold a culinary conference, with the bounty of food there, from the street vendors making gyros to ultra high-end restaurants. While there, my blog was moved, got infected by a virus, died and was finally resurrected! (I must have Easter on my mind because that sure sounds familiar. . .)

I wanted to do a fabulous recipe for Easter, but that ball dropped as I was juggling all the other ones. This recipe was originally posted 2 years ago, but a good Leg of Lamb recipe is evergreen!

If you are a brisket fan, I wrote a guest post for The Shiksa in the Kitchen blog for #passoverpotluck. A diverse group of bloggers, both Jewish and not, contributed recipes for Passover. I did a Slow Cooker Brisket with Chipotle-Cranberry Sauce, that is not only good for Passover, but Easter or anytime.  Head over to Tori’s blog for a lot of great recipes, including my favorite pancake recipe!

Lemon-Oregano Lamb Marinade Ingredients


Although lamb is one of my favorite types of meat, I do not eat it that often. Whether it is a slow braised lamb shank, a succulent lamb chop or teeny lamb ribs, I like to eat it in all forms. But a nice roasted leg of lamb is always a special treat. Bone in or out, a leg of lamb is a roast often served at Easter dinner. Spring lamb signifies rebirth and renewal, not to mention Spring is when all those cute little lambs are born. I think lambs are so adorable, and you would think I would have a lot more guilt eating the darling creatures, but no. I am a true omnivore.

While browsing the aisles of my local Costco, something I do more often than my bank account likes, I found a boneless leg of lamb, all ready for the oven! It was trimmed and wrapped and calling my name. So into the cart it went, alongside the 500 rolls of toilet paper, 10 pounds of Sumatra coffee beans, multiple bottles of red wine and jumbo pack of Huggies pull-ups.

I was given a fabulous bottle of Lemon olive oil for Christmas, and decided to go really simple and just drizzle the lamb with the oil. Then I thought I should use up some of the abundance of Meyer lemons from my tree, so I zested a couple. Next thing you know my simple lamb idea was out the window, and garlic, oregano and red pepper were in. Oh well…

Lemon-Oregano Leg of Lamb

1/3 cup Lemon olive oil, or plain extra virgin olive oil

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 TB fine Meyer lemon zest (I used a microplane zester)

2 tsp dried oregano, preferable Mexican

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

4 lb boneless leg of lamb, tied

2 lbs new potatoes (optional)

2 cups baby carrots (optional)

In a small bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, salt and red pepper.

Chopped Garlic, Oregano, Crushed Red Pepper and Meyer Lemon Zest
Lemon-Oregano Marinade and Leg of Lamb

Rub the lamb with the marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.

Leg of Lamb Rubbed with Lemon-Oregano Marinade

When you are ready to cook your lamb, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Place the lamb into a large roasting pan. I added whole potatoes that I tossed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper to the pan also. This is optional, but does take care of one side dish with not a lot of extra effort. I like “not a lot of extra effort.”

Leg of Lamb and Potatoes in Roasting Pan

Roast the lamb in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour. If adding the optional vegetable, add your carrots now. You do not need to toss them with oil, just toss them into the pan.

Tossing a Few Carrots into the Pot

Continue to roast the lamb for another 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature measures at least 145 – 150 degrees for medium rare. If you like your lamb more done, roast until temperature is 160 degrees. Remember, meat continues to cook even after it is out of the oven and resting. Let the roast sit for 20 – 30 minutes before you slice it, so the juices have time to reabsorb.

A bold red wine pairs very nicely with this roast. Then again, a bold red wine pairs nicely with air if you ask me…

Roasted Lemon-Oregano Leg of Lamb

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista