Life’s a Feast: Simple Moroccan lamb shanks


One of winter’s most beloved dishes - lamb shanks. This melt-in-your-mouth recipe will fill your house with aromas of North African cuisine. When shopping for your shanks, remember the fore-shank of the lamb is less meaty than the hind-shank, and is reflected in the price. You can still, however, get a delicious meal out of both cuts. Lamb shanks contain essential nutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Take the chill out of your winter evening and try this simple, low-maintenance dish. Enjoy! 



1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Pinch of ground cardamom or two pods (optional)
Sea salt to taste
4 lamb shanks, approx 500g each
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups lamb or beef stock to 1 cup pitted green olives (optional)
1 preserved lemon chopped, or grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 3-4 thin slices
Good handful fresh coriander and mint


1. Combine the paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cardamom and turmeric and a pinch of sea salt in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Brush the shanks with oil and sprinkle over half of the spice mix.

2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Sear the shanks, until browned all over but not burned, and put into a large casserole dish with a well-sealed lid or into your slow cooker.

3. Reduce the pan to a medium heat, add a little more oil if need be, and put in onion and cook for about 5 mins, until softened. Add the garlic, ginger and rest of spice mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Continue stirring then add the stock and canned tomatoes and bring to a rapid simmer for a few minutes, ensuring you scrape all the goodness off the bottom of the pan. Pour over the shanks, cover and cook in the oven for 3-4 hours. If using a slow cooker, cook on low for about 6 hours or high for 4. Add the olives and lemon with half an hour to go.

4. Gently remove shanks from the sauce. If the sauce needs thickening, transfer to a saucepan and boil for 5-10 minutes until reduced. For a faster way, add two teaspoons of cornflour to four tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly. Pour slowly into boiling sauce, mixing constantly till it thickens then simmer for 4-5 mins.

5. Serve with your choice of couscous or polenta. Garnish with the chopped coriander and mint.