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.
- 2tbsp 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
- 50ml 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.