Lamb shanks are a beloved Kiwi classic, and it’s not hard to see why.
Although the shank is one of the least tender parts of the lamb (meaning it has excellent flavor), when it’s slow cooked, it falls off the bone.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand, who provided this recipe, put a Moroccan twist on this dish – the lovely hum of all those delicious aromatic spices will warm you up on even the chilliest of evenings.
Moroccan Lamb Shanks recipe
4 Quality Mark lamb shanks
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon each: ground coriander, turmeric and cumin
1 teaspoon each white pepper and mixed spice
2 cups Campbell’s Real Stock – Beef
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup unsweetened yogurt
1 carrot, finely chopped or grated
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup dried apricots
1-/2 cups couscous
1-1/2 cups flaked almonds
1/2 cup fresh coriander or parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 140°C conventional bake (275 degrees F).
Bring lamb out of the fridge an hour before cooking. Cut through the tendon that connects the meat to the bone at the bottom of the shank – this will allow the meat to bunch up nicely. Brush the shanks with oil and season.
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Sear the shanks, two at a time, to brown all over. Set aside in a large casserole dish with a lid.
Reduce the heat to medium, add a little more oil to the pan along with the onion and cook, stirring for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Continue stirring so the spices don’t stick and burn. Turn up the heat, add the stock and tomato paste, bring to a rapid simmer and scrape up any bits of caramelized meat stuck to the bottom. Add the tomatoes, yogurt, carrot, lemon zest and stir. Pour over the shanks, cover and cook in the oven for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Add the apricots with 1 hour to go.
Remove from the oven and gently remove the shanks from the sauce (careful as they will be very delicate) and set aside covered in foil. If the sauce needs thickening, transfer to a saucepan, add 1/4 cup water mixed with 2 teaspoons cornflour and simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
Cook according to packet directions. Just before serving, stir through half the almonds and herbs.
Spoon some couscous on serving plates, top with a shank, ladle on sauce and sprinkle with remaining almonds and herbs – and a dash of extra yogurt if you like.