I am, as I’ve said before, a bit of a lazy cook. I love stuff I can prep and chuck in the oven for a few hours, or leave to ‘plup plup’ on the back of the hob. Especially when the weather is as chilly and damp as it has been.
A couple of weekends ago, saw me heading to Asda for my usual eye check up – which is always dangerous. I mooch around the ethnic foods sections and always come back with noodles, or spices, or kimchi, or sauerkraut. Something. What I was pleased to see as I wandered was a new selection of their own spices and, with a big lamb shank defrosting at home, it was an opportunity to play with their Ras El Hanout spice blend – and grab the Dukkah, Za’ataar, and Sumac. I bloody love Sumac.
As this uses a lamb shank, it’s perfect for a lazy slow cook – but you could just as easily use lamb steak, or diced lamb, or even chicken if you fancy something lighter. I love the sweetness of a bone in joint for this sort of dish.
And before you read on, I’ll confess, it was a made on the fly, no research, dish. So it’s probably about as Moroccan as my left pinkie finger. I just knew the flavours I was reaching for – rich, spice led, hit of citrus. It would be easy to add a little sweetness with prunes or dates, but as this was a store cupboard raid (yay, January), I made do with a spoon of mango chutney to add to the heat, spice and depth.
Moroccan Style Lamb Shank
- 2 tbsp Oil coconut, olive, vegetable - for frying
- 2 Lamb shanks medium
- 1 Large onion finely diced
- 1 Carrot finely diced
- 1 Pepper whichever colour suits finely diced
- 1 garlic clove finely sliced
- 2 tsp Ras El Hanout
- 1 Red chilli finely chopped or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 Tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Mango chutney
- 50 ml Gin citrus led works well or 100ml white wine.
- Za'aatar and/or Sumac to taste
Rub the lamb shanks with the Ras El Hanout and leave to one side.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/160°C.
Heat the oil in a casserole pan, and brown the outside of the shanks - just enough to colour the meat.
Remove and leave to one side. Add the onion, pepper, carrots and sautee.
Once the vegetables begin to brown around the edges, add the chilli and garlic.
Deglaze the pan with the gin/wine, add the tinned tomatoes and chutney, stir thoroughly, then add the lamb back to the pan.
Pop a lid on the pan and put it into the oven for around 3 hours. Check it intermittently and if needed add seasoning/water to ensure it doesn't get too dry.
Serve dusted with Za'aatar and Sumac, with a spoon or two of couscous.
If you want to make it stretch a little further, add in a can of chickpeas - they'll also add a great hint of texture.