Moroccan Style Lamb Shanks
Moroccan Style Lamb Shanks, incorporate the exotic flavors of North Africa and feature Firsthand Foods lamb. Individually, these spices may not seem interesting, but when you put cumin, coriander, cinnamon, red pepper, and preserved lemon together, the result is exquisite. There are many variations of this dish and we encourage tweaking this recipe with additional North African ingredients to find the version you like best.
Lamb shanks, like most other shanks, are best seared then braised in a rich broth of wine, stock, spices, and herbs. Because Morocco has the culinary influences of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, the flavors are familiar yet unique when combined. If you are fortunate enough to find the spice mixture, Ras el hanout, you can use it instead of the spices listed in this recipe. Ras el hanout is found in several North African countries and is often associated with Moroccan cuisine. It is an excellent choice for seasoning lamb and beef. Think of it as similar to garam masala in India. It has local variations but the main spice ingredients are often cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, black peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric.
Although not a common pantry staple, preserved lemon and pomegranate molasses, are important components to this recipe. They add the necessary acid and sweet/sour finish to the dish. Once you add these to your pantry, you may find they become a regular staple. If you can’t find these ingredients you can use fresh lemons and balsamic vinegar as substitutes.
- 1 package Firsthand Foods Lamb Shanks
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup dried currants or raisins
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 Tbs. preserved lemon, minced
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 c. red wine
- 2 c. vegetable stock
- Pomegranate molasses
- Chopped mint leaves
- Turn the oven on to 350°F.
- Combine the salt, cumin and coriander. Rub the mixture all over the lamb shanks.
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, place the lamb shanks in the Dutch oven and sear to a golden brown on all sides. Set the lamb shanks aside once they are seared.
- Turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion and carrot to the Dutch oven. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one more minute. Add the wine and allow the mixture to simmer for about 3 minutes.
- Add the currants or raisins, black pepper, red pepper, preserved lemon and cinnamon stick. Add the vegetable stock. Stir to combine.
- Return the lamb shanks to the Dutch oven, nestling them into the liquid so that they are at least halfway submerged. Add the sprigs of thyme. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and place it on the center rack of the oven.
- Braise the shanks for 2.5-3 hours turning them once halfway through the cooking time. They are done when the meat falls easily from the bone.
- Serve with Moroccan couscous and ladle the pan juices over the meat. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and garnish with the mint leaves.