Saturday, 27 April 2013

Lamb Shank Tagine

Knowing I was going to have a weekend pretty much left to my own devices recently, and remembering that there was a solitary lamb shank lurking in the fridge I decided to put it to good use with a nice slow and long-cooked tagine for one. 

I think I’ve mentioned in another post that I’m not a massive fan of fruit in savory dishes but this is an example of there nearly always being at least one exception to the rule. I never used to like prunes but have become a fan of their treacly, rich stickiness in the last couple of years and here they almost melt into the sauce adding to the unctousness left by cooking the lamb for a long while on the bone.

A nice treat for a chilly night alone (are we soon to see the last of them?)  in front of the telly after a luxurious soak in the bath. Feel free of course to double up the quantities for two. If you must.

A couple of things to note here regarding the ingredients photo: the chilli doesn’t feature as I only decided to add it as I was cooking (I frequently decide to add a little chilli warmth at the last minute) and the coriander is missing as I was yet to pop to the shops to get it.

Lamb Shank Tagine
serves 1

1 ½ tsp olive oil
1 lamb shank 
1 tbsp blanched almonds (about 10)
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ medium heat red chilli, finely chopped
1 small pinch saffron threads
⅓ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ras el hanout
¼ tsp turmeric
250ml hot water
½ cinnamon stick
1 tsp rose harissa
1 small carrot, cut into rough 2in batons
6-8 ready to eat prunes, roughly chopped
small pinch freshly ground nutmeg
small handful coriander, finely chopped
1 tsp honey
5g butter, melted
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160C.

In a large heavy bottom casserole, heat the olive oil, and add the lamb shank, turning frequently until golden brown all over (or as much as you can, it’s obviously quite an awkward shape). Set aside.

Add the blanched almonds to the casserole and sauté till golden. Turn the heat down low and add the onion. Season with salt & pepper and cook for at least 10 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Add the chopped chilli and cook for a couple minutes more.

Add the lamb back to the pot and add the turmeric, saffron threads, ground coriander, ground ginger and ras el hanout tossing the shank around to coat.

Add the hot water, harissa and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.

Cover and then pop in the oven and let cook for about 2 hours or until the meat is starting to get really tender.

Add the prunes and carrots and perhaps a little water if you think it needs it (err on the side of caution though as you don’t want to dilute the sauce) and put back in the oven for 45 mins to an hour.

Remove the casserole from the oven and set the lamb aside in a warm place. Place the casserole over a low heat and add the chopped coriander, honey, nutmeg and a small knob of butter.

Increase the heat, and bring to a rapid simmer, letting the sauce reduce and caramelise slightly. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes.

Serve with rice or couscous with the sauce spooned over and around the lamb.


  1. This looks delish! I love a lamb shank but always cook it in a red wine sauce. Book marketed this for when gets chilly again - hopefully that is not till Autumn!