North African Braised Lamb Shanks

Delicious, melt-in-your-mouth lamb shanks, slow-cooked to perfection and packed with warm, North African flavours and spices.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Meat


  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsps ras el hanout
  • sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 40 g fresh ginger root, minced
  • 2 tsps ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 4 tbsps double concentrated tomato purée
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 150 g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • small bunch of fresh mint, chopped, to serve
  • small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped, to serve


  1. Make the marinade: combine the extra-virgin olive oil and ras el hanout in a small bowl. Massage the marinade into the lamb shanks. Generously season each shank with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, or, preferably chill overnight and let sit at room temperature 1 hour before cooking.
  2. Heat oven to 160°C/fan 140°C. Heat ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb shanks, turning regularly, until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot; work in two batches, if necessary. Once browned, transfer the lamb shanks to a large plate.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, season with a pinch of sea salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then, add the spices and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the tomato purée and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to darken, 2 to 3 mins.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the chicken stock, dried apricots and seared lamb shanks and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover and bake for 2 ½ hours, or until the lamb shanks are nice and tender.
  7. Using a large spoon, skim off the excess fat from the surface of the sauce. Carefully transfer the shanks to a plate.
  8. Heat sauce over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Return the lamb to the sauce. Top with fresh mint and fresh coriander and serve.

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