Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Slow cooked dishes are some of my favourite recipes, due to their ease of preparation on busy days, the mingling of delicious flavours and the way the meat is so delicate and easily digestible. 

Lamb shanks are a regular on my slow cooked menu plans.  I love the pairing of lamb with Italian style herbs such as garlic, thyme and rosemary but also find the earthy and sweet spices reminiscent of Morocco also complement lamb really well.

This dish can be made ahead earlier in the day and then cooked in a slow cooker or it can just baked on low in the oven for a few hours. Either way, when it comes to dinner time, the amazing aromas coming from the kitchen will call you in and the minimum prep time to finish and serve this dish up is always such a welcome bonus after a busy day.

Lamb is a lovely clean naturally grass-fed meat that is rich in iron, zinc, selenium, protein and vitamins such as B12 and B3. Like all animal foods it contains stable saturated fats but lamb also has a good amount of omega 3 and monounsaturated fats.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4  x lamb shanks (ensure you get the same sized shanks)
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1  x 20cm stick of celery roughly chopped
  • 1 medium-large carrot roughly diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of harissa paste (or use 1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes or hot paprika)
  • 1 cinnamon quill (or teaspoon of ground cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 star anise
  • 60ml white wine (optional)
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 50-60g dried apricots, chopped
  • 50-60g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup stock (veggie/chicken)
  • Serve with your choice of coriander leaves, mint, yoghurt, toasted slivered almonds

METHOD

  1. Get Slow Cooker ready if using or preheat the oven to 150°c if using oven method.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large heavy-based flameproof casserole with a lid over high heat. In 2 batches, cook the lamb, turning, for 8-10 minutes or until evenly browned.
  3. Transfer lamb to a plate and set aside.
  4. Return casserole dish to medium-high heat and add remaining oil. Add leek, onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until softened. Add harissa, cinnamon, cumin, star anise, and orange zest, and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
  5. Add orange juice and white wine (if using), and simmer on high briefly.
  6. Cook, scraping bottom of casserole with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes or until wine mixture is reduced by half. Stir through apricot, date, chickpeas, tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil.

SLOW COOKER METHOD

  • Place lamb and sauce mixture in your slow cooker and set on low setting for 6-7 hours.

OVEN METHOD

  • Return lamb to casserole, then cover and transfer to oven and cook for 3-4 hours or until the meat begins to flake away from the bone.
  • If sauce is still soupy, increase oven temperature to 200°c and cook uncovered for 30 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce.

TO SERVE

  • Scatter braised lamb with coriander leaves,  mint, dollop of yoghurt and flaked almonds.
  • If desired, serve with a grain such as cous-cous, rice or quinoa and a green side salad.
  • Enjoy!