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Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks

An easy recipe for succulent and tender Moroccan braised lamb shanks that are slow-cooked in warming spices and red wine until they practically fall off the bone. Perfect for a dinner party during the cooler season. Oven, slow cooker, and pressure cooker (Instant Pot) instructions included.

Moroccan Lamb Shanks with potatoes and fresh herbs on a black plate
Table of contents
Moroccan Lamb Shanks | caroha.com

Lamb shanks are known as a tough cut that requires long and slow cooking but with a little patience, the meat will simply fall off the bone. Covered in a rich and fragrant red wine sauce these braised lamb shanks can be prepared in the oven, slow cooker, or pressure cooker (Instant Pot).

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Hands-off, slow-cooked recipe
  • If you love Moroccan cuisine and rich meat dishes, this recipe is for you
  • This recipe works with other tough lamb cuts as well

Check out my Hungarian lamb goulash, classic beef stew, and rustic lamb pie, for more comforting dinner options.

Ingredients

  • Lamb shanks – Remove the connective tissue, aka silver skin, which is the white membrane on the outside of the meat and any larger fat areas. This will reduce the gamey flavor of the meat. Trim the tendons to help the meat shrink toward the top of the shank, giving the shanks a cleaner appearance as they cook.
  • Red wine – Pinot Noir or a Merlot blend work well for fragrant lamb dishes.
  • Stock – I use my lamb stock for this recipe but you can substitute it with beef stock or chicken broth as well.
  • Spices – Cumin, cinnamon, and coriander are classic Moroccan spices and are likely part of your spice collection. Use ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick for a more intense flavor. Ras el hanout is a more complex Moroccan seasoning blend that can be used as an alternative as well as my chermoula spice mixture.
  • Fruit (optional) – Dried fruit such as figs, dates, apricots, or prunes can be added to the dish to create a sweeter flavor profile. Orange or lemon peel, lemon juice, preserved lemon, or a dash of orange juice can add some freshness to the rich lamb dish. Pomegranate juice or pomegranate seeds can give the Moroccan lamb shank tagine extra color and flavor.

Tips

  • Season and braise the lamb shanks well to create rich, deep flavors.
  • The alcohol will fully evaporate during cooking but you can substitute the wine for more stock if you prefer to cook without alcohol.
  • Keep an eye on the liquid level and make sure the lamb shanks are submerged in the flavorful sauce during cooking so that they don’t dry out. Add extra stock if required.
  • Slow-cook the lamb shanks in a dutch oven, casserole, or traditional tagine.

Slow cooker method

To cook this recipe in a slow cooker, simply follow steps 1-5 of the instructions below but reduce the stock to 1 1/2 cup (instead of 2). Transfer everything to a large slow cooker. Set to low and cook for 8-9 hours until the lamb shanks are cooked and fall off the bone.

Instant pot / pressure cooker method

  • To braise the lamb shanks, select SAUTÉ twice on the Instant Pot until it shows Medium. Add the olive oil. When the screen shows Hot, add the seasoned lamb shanks. Sear until browned. Remove the shanks and set them aside.
  • Add the vegetables and spices and cook them until softened. Deglaze with red wine and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the lamb shanks back in and the remaining ingredients including the stock but reduce the stock to 1 cup.
  • Close the Instant Pot and set the vent to SEALING. Select PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL and set the time to 55 minutes at high pressure. Allow the steam to release naturally once the pressure cook program ends. Remove the lid carefully.

Serving

Serve braised lamb shanks on a bed of couscous, creamy polenta, basmati rice, or sweet potato mash. Classic sides include roasted, or stewed potatoes or swede mash aka mashed neeps. Steamed broccoli and tender beans also compliment the recipe. Garnish the tagine with fresh mint leaves.

This delicious recipe deserves a matching wine. Pair the shanks with a light-bodied Pinot Noir or elegant Merlot.

FAQ

How do you store slow-cooked lamb shanks?

This recipe can easily be made ahead of time without the meat drying out. Simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and heat it in an oven-proof dish. Add a little extra stock if the sauce is too thick. Pulled off the bone the meat and sauce can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

The sauce is too watery, how can I thicken it?

If you prefer a thicker consistency, simply add 1 tsp of cornflour mixed in warm water or stock and bring it back to a boil to thicken the sauce.

Recipe

Moroccan Lamb Shanks with potatoes and fresh herbs on a black plate

Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks

Caro Jensen
Slow-cooked Moroccan lamb shanks. Melt in your mouth, tender lamb shanks in a fragrant red wine sauce – deep and rich in flavor. An easy dinner recipe for the cooler season.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 4 servings
Calories 374 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups lamb stock
  • 400 g tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Take the lamb shanks out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking. Rinse them with water and pat them dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.
    1 tbsp olive oil, salt & black pepper, 4 lamb shanks
  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Sear the lamb shanks for 2 minutes on each side and transfer them to an oven-proof casserole dish.
  • Add onion, carrots, and minced garlic cloves to the braising liquid in the same pan. Cook for 4 minutes until softened. Add spices and combine everything.
    2 carrots, 1 large onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Deglaze with red wine and let it simmer for 1 minute on high heat for the alcohol to burn off. Add the stock, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes on medium heat and pour it over the lamb shanks.
    1 cup red wine, 2 cups lamb stock, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 400 g tomatoes
  • Add a lid or tin foil to the casserole and cook it in the oven for 2 hours. Check the shanks after 1 hour and turn them. Add more stock if they're not submerged in liquid.
  • Remove the casserole from the oven and season with salt and pepper to taste.
    salt & black pepper
  • Serve with potatoes and beans or broccoli. Enjoy!

Notes

  • The alcohol will fully evaporate during cooking but you can substitute the wine for more stock if you prefer to cook without alcohol.
  • Make sure the lamb shanks are submerged in the sauce during cooking so that they don't dry out. Add extra stock if required.

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 43gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 127mgSodium: 554mgPotassium: 1089mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 6185IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 5mg
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