There is something wonderfully satisfying about a slow cooked stew in winter. Given, I don’t eat this one myself but every now and then RJ asks for it by name and I simply can’t resist.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a veg-aquarian and, until very recently, it’s been roughly 15 years since I’ve eaten meat. However the consumption of meat has always been a texture / flavour / heath issue for me, never an ethical one, and I really enjoy cooking with it. We do try to buy organic and sustainable meats though.
As a side note one of the only seafood items I won’t eat is swordfish… mercury content aside it has the stringy, dare I say meaty, texture that is the exact reason I don’t eat meat. But I digress.
This has been a classic recipe of mine for quite a while and the flavours are simply magical. I usually make two batches, one for the carnivore with lamb and a vegetarian version for me with homemade seitan and sweet potato.
Obviously this is the meaty one only, indicated by the big’ol bone if you haven’t noticed.
Slow cooked lamb shanks are not a dish you make in small portions so unless you have a large family or are cooking for a Seasonal Sunday Lunch feast make sure there is plenty of room in the fridge or freezer for the leftovers. This stew does however taste even better the next day, so leftovers – or even cooking it ahead of time – are very good news.
Moroccan Lamb Shanks
A hearty, slow cooked, falling off the bone, spiced pot of heaven. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon feast, with plenty of leftovers for weekday lunches. A little bit of effort goes a long way.
- 4 large lamb shanks
- 1/4 c whole wheat, whole spelt or gf flour
- oil, sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
- 1 brown onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 carrots, roughly diced
- 2 tsp each cumin, tumeric, sweet paprika
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 – 1 tsp hot paprika, optional
- 1/2 c white wine
- 1 can chopped tomatoes or 1 c passata
- 1/4 c dry lentils
- approx 4 c stock
- 1/2 c dates, chopped & pitted
Preheat oven to 180C [350F]. On the stove-top, heat a large heavy-based, oven-proof pot over medium heat.
Toss lamb in seasoned flour and brown on all sides. Set meat aside and saute veggies in same pot. Stir through spices and cook to toast. Deglaze with wine, add tomatoes, lentils and dates. Add browned shanks, pour over stock to fully cover everything. Bring to boil, cover and bake in preheated oven for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, turning shanks a few times during cooking. Remove when meat is falling off the bone.
Place lamb shanks in a plastic bag with flour, a large pinch of salt and some cracked pepper then shake to coat. Tap excess flour off the shanks. Add a splash of oil to the oven-proof pot and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
Without cleaning the pan, add another splash of oil and saute onion, garlic and carrots for 1-2 mins. Add all spices and stir for 30 sec until just fragrant. Add wine and stir to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan while the alcohol boils off. Add tomatoes, lentils and dates, stir to combine.
Add browned lamb shanks back to pan, fitting them in like a puzzle. Pour in stock, adding extra water if needed to fully cover everything. Bring to the boil. Place lid on pot and move into preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Check twice during cooking, turning shanks to keep meat submerged. Once meat is falling off the bone remove the pot from the oven and allow to sit for 20 mins before serving.
Serve with polenta, sweet potato or roast pumpkin and steamed green veggies. Top with gremolata.
- Stock: I use water with a good organic stock powder.
- Wine: All the alcohol boils off but feel free to replace this with an equal measure of stock or apple juice.
- Pot: An enameled cast iron dutch oven is perfect for this but a large oven-proof sauce pan will work too. If all else fails make it on the stove-top and layer in a large roasting pan covered with foil to bake.
- Cooking time: The longer you cook this the more tender the meat will become until it simply falls off the bone. Keeping the pot covered and turning the shanks occasionally will keep them from burning as the liquid reduces, you can remove the lid for the last 10-15 mins to caramelize the meat and thicken the sauce a bit more but it is by no means necessary.
gluten free // dairy free
A traditional accompaniment to Italian Osso Bucco, the crisp herbal and citrus flavours cut through the richness of Moroccan Lamb Shanks perfectly.
Makes: half cup
- large handful parsley, finely chopped
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- tiny pinch sea salt
Combine all ingredients, refrigerate until needed.
gluten free // dairy free // vegan // vegetarian