Braised Lamb Shank with Rice and Gluten-Free Garlic Bread {Egyptian "Fattah"}


I’ve often referenced my middle-eastern background and the influences I feel those flavors have had on shaping my palate. However, I don’t believe I’ve shared any traditional Egyptian recipes with you yet, have I? Since I started interning at Bon Appétit and preparing family meal in the test kitchen, I found myself using those dishes as my go-tos often. I believe it is slightly less intimidating, when cooking for the editorial staff of an amazing food publication, to introduce new flavors, vs. giving them a variation of a dish they are used to tasting every day. Could I really wow them with a chicken parm, for example? I don’t know. I’m sure they’ve had some of the best out there already. There is something exciting about trying something new and I believe, based on their feedback, they’ve really enjoyed sampling koshari, foul muddamas and most recently, this Egyptian fattah.

Fattah is a dish we would mainly eat on two very special occasions, Christmas Eve and Easter. It is generally the first big meal which breaks a fasting period for those who follow the Coptic Orthodox religion. It is extremely indulgent and rich and I absolutely love it! My favorite part is the toasty garlic bread which combines with the rice and is soaked in a delicious broth which the meat was cooked in. Fattah is traditionally made with pita bread. I subbed in Rudi’s gluten-free whole wheat bread and honestly, it tasted just as great as the original to me. So heavenly. You have to try it! I added some cumin-spiced fried onions on top for extra flavor. I mean, when is that ever a bad idea?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Braised Lamb Shank with Rice and Toasted Garlic Bread {Egyptian "Fattah"}
Cuisine: Egyptian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil to coat the pan
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks. chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbl, tomato paste
  • ¼ cup, red wine
  • water to cover the lamb shanks
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf of gluten-free wheat bread, each slice cut into 6 pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • RICE
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups, braising liquid
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Season lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper and place in a ziploc bag with rosemary and garlic for 2-12 hours, turning halfway through
  2. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large braising pot over medium-high heat
  3. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly browned at edges
  4. Stir in tomato paste to coat all of the vegetables and then add the wine. Allow to boil and slightly reduce (about 2-3 minutes) before adding water to just cover the lamb shanks.
  5. Add in the rosemary and cardamom. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1½ - 2 hours until meat is very tender but still adhering to the bone. Add water, if needed, to cover the lamb throughout the cooking process.
  6. In the meantime, heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add butter, garlic and bread tossing to coat until bread is slightly slightly toasted and garlic is beginning to brown. Transfer to a baking pan and continue toasting in the oven at 350 for an additional 5 minutes, or until browned and crisp (see above picture). Reserve on the side.
  7. When lamb has finished cooking, take the shanks out of the cooking liquid and reserve, covered in foil, in the oven at 250 degrees, to keep warm while cooking the rice.
  8. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.
  9. Add two cups of the reserved lamb stock to a medium pan and save the rest for when you assemble the dish. Cook the rice in the lamb stock (instead of water) according to package instructions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. While the rice is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the sliced onion and cumin and stir frequently, cooking until well-browned and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. To assemble the dish, place the toasted garlic bread on the bottom of the platter in one layer, spoon the rice on top, nestle the lamb shanks in the rice and pour enough reserved stock on top to moisten the bread on the bottom layer (do not soak the dish). Sprinkle the frizzled onions on top.
  12. Enjoy!



1 Comment

  • I like the looks of your recipe. What would you use instead of wine for the broth? We don’t drink alcohol. Thanks 🙂

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