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Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate

Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate

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4 plus 1 lunch the next day Servings

We've flavored the lamb shanks with North African spices and woken up the rich meat and vegetables with a handful of pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves sprinkled on just before serving.


  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lamb shanks (about 2½ pounds)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large leek, white and light-green parts only, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups pomegranate juice
  • 1½ cups homemade chicken stock, low-sodium canned, or water

Special Equipment

  • A spice mill or a mortar and pestle

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coarsely grind coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes in spice mill or with mortar and pestle. Crumble saffron into spice mixture, if using, and stir in 1 tsp. kosher salt plus black pepper to taste.

  • If there is an opaque white layer enrobing shanks, remove by cutting it a bit at the edge, then pulling at the corner: It should come off with a little coaxing. Do not remove iridescent membrane below, which holds the meat together. Sprinkle shanks with coriander mixture, then let rest at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

  • Thirty minutes before you want to cook them, dredge shanks in cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Heat oil in a large heavy braising dish or Dutch oven over medium. Add shanks and cook until browned on all sides, 10–12 minutes. Transfer shanks to a platter or baking dish; add onion, carrots, and leek to pan. Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits that have accumulated, 1 minute. Add cinnamon and thyme and pour in pomegranate juice and stock. Scrape pan again, then bring mixture to a simmer. Return shanks to pan and season with kosher salt and black pepper.

  • Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise 1½ hours, then check liquid level, making sure there is at least 1" stock in pan; if not, add water or stock to bring it up to that mark. Continue braising until meat is completely tender and falling off the bone, about 2½ hours.

  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat and large chunks of vegetables to a plate. Discard thyme and cinnamon stick. Using a spoon, skim off as much fat as possible from the surface; tilting the pan a bit can help with gathering fat. To serve, bring liquid to a simmer and cook meat and vegetables until warmed through, if needed.

  • Serve lamb pieces off the bone with some sauce and top with pomegranate seeds, mint leaves, and flaky sea salt.

,Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole HerriottReviews SectionDelicious! The onions melt into the pomegranate sauce that is sweet, sour, rich and perfect with the very lamb and rice that we had as a side to soak up that delicious gravy. The veggies were also tasty - sometimes in these long braises recipes they say to toss the veggies since they've given their all, but here they were almost glazed in the pomegranate and I enjoyed them. Everything was well seasoned - though note that I did salt my lamb a day and a half ahead of time - as taught by Samin Nosrat using her ratios by weight - and a few hours before cooking I put the rest of the spice blend on. The mint gave it a nice pop of freshness and color when serving. I used a homemade veggie stock, a white onion in place of the leek, dried thyme, and my pomegranate seeds sadly went bad by the time I made this but it was a great recipe and I would definitely make it again. It reheated well for a few days with a splash of extra stock to loosen up the sauce.katy.ionisSeattle, WA06/13/20

Recipe Summary

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced crosswise
  • 1 red chile, preferably Holland hot or red Thai chile, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 piece ginger (3 inches), peeled and very finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups Brown Chicken Stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 8 dried apricots, sliced
  • 20 green and black olives, such as Moroccan or Alphonso and Cerignola
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Mint Yogurt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, chile, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add celery, carrot, cumin, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, star anise, and saffron. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and fragrant season with salt and pepper.

Add chicken stock, tomatoes, apricots, and olives bring to a boil. Add lamb, making sure it is submerged halfway season with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and cook, rotating lamb every 30 minutes, until meat is evenly browned and falling off the bone, and sauce is thickened.


  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 3 tbsp regular olive oil
  • 2 large onions , peeled and roughly chopped (3 1/2 cups, loosely packed)
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic , bruised and slightly splintered with the flat side if a wide-bladed knife, then slipped out of their skins
  • 2 large carrots , peeled and cut into chunky slices on the diagonal
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary , plus more to sprinkle
  • 1 1/2 cups soft, dry pitted dates , approx. 30 small, or 15 large, halved
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 lime , to squeeze if wished
  • pomegranate seeds , to serve

Melt-in-your-mouth Moroccan Style Braised Lamb Shanks take you straight to the streets of Morocco in Northern Africa. Both slightly sweet and surely spicy, you’ll fall in love with the aromatic flavors woven into each bite! Serve on basmati rice or couscous.

  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 meaty lamb shanks ((about 1 1⁄4 pounds each))
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 carrots (finely chopped)
  • 2 large garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon harissa or another chili paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (drained and coarsely chopped)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 1⁄4 cup slivered almonds (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot (minced)
  • 1 10-ounce box instant couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  3. Season the shanks with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the shanks to the casserole, 2 at a time, and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 12 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the casserole.
  6. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole.
  7. Add the onion, carrots and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring about 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  8. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and cook, stirring until lightly toasted, about
  9. 1 minute.
  10. Add the tomato paste and harissa and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the wine and boil until reduced to a thick syrup, about 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of the chicken stock to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Nestle the lamb shanks in the liquid.

Cover tightly and braise in the oven for about 3 hours, basting occasionally, until the meat is almost falling off the bone.

Transfer the shanks to a platter and cover with foil. Leave the oven on.

Spread the almonds in a pie pan in an even layer and toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden.

Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing on the vegetables skim any fat.

Return the sauce to the casserole and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes.

Return the vegetables and lamb to the sauce and keep warm.

In a small bowl, mix the mint with the cilantro and almonds and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.

Add the shallot and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the couscous and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 cup of chicken stock, the water and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil.

Pan-tastic! Moroccan-style lamb shank tagine

Try luscious lamb shanks and these tempting tarts in our second extract from a new book of one-pan recipes.

This delicious lamb dish can be scattered with coriander and pomegranate seeds, and served with couscous

  • A pinch of saffron strands
  • 1tbsp boiling water
  • 1-2tbsp plain flour
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 small lamb shanks (each around 350g/12oz)
  • 2-3 glugs of vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1tsp each ground ginger and cinnamon
  • 2tsp each ground cumin and coriander
  • 2tsp rose harissa paste
  • 2 small preserved lemons (or 1 large), drained, pips removed and the rest finely chopped
  • 2tsp caster sugar
  • 600ml (1pt) fresh lamb or chicken stock (or use 2 stock cubes)
  • A handful of semi-dried apricots or prunes, or a mixture of both
  • A handful of walnut halves
  • 250g (9oz) couscous
  • A good handful of fresh coriander, leaves and thin stems chopped
  • 2tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/ gas 4. Put the saffron in a ramekin with the boiling water. Set aside to infuse. In a bowl, season the flour, then add the lamb and toss to coat.

Heat a glug of oil in a deep, cast iron, lidded casserole dish into which the shanks will fit snugly. Brown them all over on a high heat in two batches, then set aside on a plate. If some of the flour has burnt, wipe out the casserole.

Just One Pan by Jane Lovett will be published by Headline on Thursday, £25. © Jane Lovett 2021. To order a copy for £22 call 020 3308 9193 or visit Free UK delivery on orders over £20. Offer price valid until 05/06/2021

Heat another glug of oil, add the onion and cook gently for a few minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and ground spices and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.

Add the harissa, preserved lemons, sugar, saffron water and strands, stock and lamb. Bring to the boil, season, cover and place in the oven for 1½ hours, turning the shanks over halfway through.

Add the apricots and/or prunes and walnuts and return to the oven for 30 minutes. The lamb will almost be falling off the bone by this stage. Skim off the fat with a spoon.

Place the couscous into a bowl with 1tsp of salt, some pepper and 1tbsp veg oil. Add 375ml boiling water and stir. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 10 minutes. Fluff up with a fork.

Scatter the lamb with the coriander and pomegranate seeds (if using), and serve with the couscous.

Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank with Minted Cucumber Salad

1. Add all ingredients to coffee grinder, process until smooth powder formed.

Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Season the lamb shanks all over with salt, pepper, and the spice mix. You’ll need about half of the spice mix to complete this.

3. Sear the spiced lamb shanks on all sides in a hot dutch oven with a neutral oil. Remove the shanks from the pot once browned.

4. Drain any smoking or burnt oil from the dutch oven, and replace with neutral oil.

5. Saute onion until slightly soft, about 5-7 minutes.

6. Add cilantro stems and golden raisins, continue sautéing for roughly another 5 minutes.
7. Sprinkle the remaining spice mix over the onion mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes, until slightly darkened.

8. Add the tomato, and red wine, stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, salt if appropriate.

9. Nestle the lamb shanks back in the pot, making sure the sauce doesn’t reach more than 2/3 up their sides.

10. Place a heavy lid on the pot, or a parchment paper cutout, and slide the pot into your oven.

11. Cook the shanks for 90-120 minutes, or until fork tender. Every 30 minutes, open the pot and turn the shanks so that a new side is exposed to the air.

12. When ready to serve, remove the lid from the pot and increase the heat of the oven to 450 degrees. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

13. Cut meat away from bone, serve with minted cucumber salad or couscous.

Minted Cucumber Salad

1. Peel and seed the cucumbers, then slice thinly. Add to a medium bowl.

2. Slice the onion very thinly, either by hand or with a mandoline. Add to bowl with cucumber.

3. Chop the mint and cilantro together, add to bowl with cucumber.

4. Add pomegranate seeds to bowl, toss everything to combine.

5. Season bowl with vinegar, pomegranate molasses, salt, and pepper, to taste.

Check out more delicious recipes at the Home & Family Pinterest Page

What is Harissa?

Harissa is one of my favorite global condiments. From North Africa, harissa is a blend of roasted peppers and spices in oil used as a topping or mixed into recipes to add richness and flavors.

Recipes for harissa vary in spiciness but it is meant to be a fiery condiment, and they often included a variety of hot peppers like serranos. Harissa also includes a variety of spices like cumin, garlic, caraway, and coriander. I have seen it sold in tubes but prefer it in jars where I can spoon out as much or little as needed.

When using Harissa for the first time, it’s a good idea to mix in a small amount and add in a bit at a time, to make sure you can handle the heat.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder blade chops
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • ⅓ cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Generously season lamb chops with salt and black pepper.

Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Place lamb chops in Dutch oven and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate and reduce heat to medium.

Stir onion and a pinch of salt into the Dutch oven cook until onions are slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Pour pomegranate juice into the Dutch oven and scrape any browned bits off of the bottom of the pot. Pour in balsamic vinegar, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Stir rosemary, mint leaves, and red pepper flakes into pomegranate juice mixture. Continue to boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Return lamb and any accumulated juices to Dutch oven, spoon pomegranate mixture over lamb, and cover.

Cook in the preheated oven until meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. Transfer lamb to a plate and set Dutch oven on the stovetop over high heat. Bring pomegranate mixture to a boil cook, skimming any fat that accumulates, until liquid is reduced by 1/3, about 5 minutes.

Stir in honey and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Return lamb to the Dutch oven stir to combine. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, sliced mint leaves, and pumpkin seeds.

Lamb shanks with chickpeas & Moroccan spices

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain, tip into a saucepan and cover generously with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 45 minutes and drain.

Heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the lamb all over. Remove and set aside. Pour off most of the fat, leaving 1 tablespoon in the dish, add the onions and fry for 8-10 minutes until soft.

Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3/fan oven 140C. Mix together the ginger, garlic, chillies, cumin, coriander, pepper and paprika. Add half of this to the onions, tip in the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Put in the lamb and chickpeas, cover generously with water (about 850ml/11⁄2 pints), bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and cook in the oven for 11⁄2-2 hours until the chickpeas are really tender. (You can prepare up to this stage the day before. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Bring back to simmering point before starting step 4.)

Remove from the oven and stir in the remaining spice mixture, the saffron and cinnamon, carrots, apricots, honey and salt. Cover and return to the oven for 45 minutes-1 hour until the lamb is tender and the vegetables cooked. Scatter the almonds and coriander on top.


Canned chickpeas are cooked, so adjust the cooking time. Start at step 2 and omit the chickpeas in step 3, adding just 425ml/0.25 pint water. Add a drained and rinsed 410g can of chickpeas at the beginning of step 4.

Grenache Food Pairing

As discussed, we are pairing this delicious slow-cooked Moroccan lamb with some Grenache. One of the requests from Giles was something with a little spice to it and knowing how good Grenache is with slow-cooked lamb I figured let's add a Moroccan twist to it too. Grenache itself has a number of spices to it and this Thistledown Vagabond Grenache isn't short in that department.

For me, I get notes of chocolate, coffee, cranberry, pomegranates and a little orange peel too. This moves into some cherry flavours and a little licorice too. Beautiful spicy notes, a kiss of oak with medium tannins. The acidity is well balanced and there is good length too. It's a baby right now and definitely opens up more after 30 minutes in the decanter. My advice is pick up 3-6 of them and enjoy them over the next few years. You will be well rewarded!

Watch the video: Pomegranate Lamb Shank Tagine for Easter Dinner (June 2022).


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