Lamb shanks are probably my favourite cut of lamb, slow cooked they yield a surprising amount of delicious meat that just falls off the bone.
I had picked up some Ras el Hanout in Tesco and was dying to try it out. It’s a morrocan spice blend used as a rub for meat and fish aswell as being stirred into couscous and rice. It gives warmth but not heat to a dish.
A quick search for recipes on google revealed some fairly labour intensive results, so abandoning that I decided to try out my own method.
I’ve made this a few times now, initially I wanted some flavoursome meat to accompany some salads, wraps and tzatziki, but when the cooking juices were so delicious I decided to make a type of Moroccan stew out of it the next time.
Both methods start out the same and both yield delicious meals.
*apologies for the rubbish photo*
3 or 4 lamb shanks ( depending on the size of your casserole dish)
1 Onion, peeled and cut into eights
2 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole.
Ras el Hanout spice blend ( I used the Tesco Finest one) you will need about 3 to 4 tablespoons.
If making the stew you will also need
4 Carrots peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces.
4 stalks of celery cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tin of chickpeas, rinsed.
1 tablespoon of cornflour ( optional)
Preheat oven to 130 degrees
In a large casserole dish heat a small amount of oil until quite hot.
Brown each lamb shank, turning to ensure it’s reasonable evenly browned.
When all the shanks are browned reduce heat slightly and add in your onion and allow it to colour slightly.
While this is happening, cut some shallow slashes into the shanks and rub them all over with the Ras el Hanout.
Add in the garlic to the casserole, put back in the meat and add the stock cube/pot and add some boiling water down the side of the dish ( to prevent washing the spice off the lamb). Bring the water up about 1/3 of the way on the shanks.
Cover the casserole and place it in the oven.
Sit back and indulge in the gorgeous smells for the next few hours.
If you are making this for the pulled lamb version, then all you have left to do is get your accompaniments ready, some salad, some simple Tzatziki and some wraps which have been warmed slightly. A simple but delicious dinner awaits you.
After 3 hours or so, remove the lamb from the dish and using a fork take the meat off the bones. Add a little of the cooking juice over the meat and serve.
For the stew version, after 2 hours of cooking add in the carrots,celery and chickpeas, and then back into the oven for about another hour or so. Until the veg is just cooked. If you want a slightly thicker sauce you can add a heaped tablespoon of cornflour, dissolved in water, to the dish and allow it to bubble on the hob for a few minutes to thicken it up.
I served this with couscous but you could also serve it with some mashed potatoes, perfect for these colder autumnal evenings.
This would also work in a slow cooker, just add less stock, 200ml should be sufficient.