This is one large saucy dish that is perfect for sharing with a close group of friends. Sit on the floor with lots of cushions Moroccan style and serve it in a large tagine pot – your guests will have lots of fun scooping up the falling-off-the-bone tender meat and delicious saffron couscous. Serve with lots of bold-flavored red wine to complement the North African spiced meat – and, perhaps some after dinner hookah?
North African Lamb Shank and Saffron Couscous (Serves 4)
2 lamb shanks
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 large red onion, large dice
1 carrot, large dice
4 celery sticks, cut into big chunks
1 tbl paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp chili flakes
1 can tomatoes
1 cup of lamb or beef stock
5 garlic cloves, crushed with the heel of your knife
4 sprigs ea. parsley and cilantro, plus more (chopped) for garnish
2 sprigs of rosemary
zest and juice of ½ a lemon
10 dried apricots, cut into halves
salt and pepper
- Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and sear them on all sides in olive oil over a hot flame. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 175 C.
- In a dutch oven or large roasting pan, sauté the onion, carrot, celery and crushed garlic over medium- high heat and season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables start to take color, add in 1/3 bottle of the red wine and let reduce to about ½ its volume. Add in the herbs, bay leaf and spices, apricot halves, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Pour in the can of tomatoes and lamb or beef stock and return the lamb shanks to the liquid. Make sure the lamb shanks are completely submerged – add more water if necessary.
- Braise the lamb shanks for approx. 3-4 hours, check half way and add more liquid if necessary.
- Once the lamb shanks are cooked, strain off ½ braising liquid and pour into a small saucepan. Reserve the apricot halves and cooked carrots to serve with the lamb (sprinkle a bit of cumin on them for an extra punch).
- Cook the strained braising liquid over medium heat until it reduces to a thick sauce. Reserve and keep warm.
- Pour boiling water over the couscous, add a drizzle of olive oil, a few pinches of salt and a few strands of saffron. Cover and let sit for 5-6 min. Remove the cover and fluff with a fork.
- Serve the lamb shanks over the saffron couscous with the reserved carrot and apricot mixture. Pour the sauce on top and garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley.