Easy Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Easy Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks
Easy Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Braised Moroccan lamb shanks is a comforting, spicy and flavoursome braise that makes for perfect comfort food.

This is exactly the type of dish you want when the weather turns cold and something hearty, and warming is called for.

Our weather turned with a vengeance last week. The fire was lit and the smell of the lamb shanks cooking filled our home with the promise of a delicious meal coming up.

We dined liked kings with each shank served on a bed of couscous. The pumpkin soaks up all the glorious juices and becomes soft and the perfect partner for the tender lamb.

The bonus to this dish was the extra sauce that was left over. We served it the following day on some pappardelle pasta with a gremolata of chopped Italian parsley, lemon zest and finely grated garlic. Bonus meal in one!

braised moroccan lamb shanks ingredients ready to prepare

Lamb shanks

Look for the front shanks which are always smaller than the longer to cook, and generally much plumper looking rear shanks. We learned the hard way that even though the rear shanks can look much meatier, they are much, much tougher than the slimmer, front shanks.

We’d gone to the local farmers market and came across a farmer selling these devine looking, really plump and meaty lamb shanks at an incredibly great price.

Our thoughts turned to all sorts of braises for long slow cooking and delicious meat. Naturally we bought some for now, and some to freeze for later (let us tell you that Cooper dined like a king for 4 dinners).

We set about braising them in something or other that now quite escapes us both, and waited and waited, and prodded and prodded with a fork willing the meat to become tender.

That meal was a complete fail, and a good lesson regarding lamb shanks.

The rear legs apparently do much more work than the front and are consequently tougher and therefore take forever to cook (ours never got to the ‘fall off the bone’ stage,) so the lesson is bigger, is not always better!

Preserved lemons

Preserved lemons bring a lot of great flavour to any braise. They’re intensely lemony and add amazing depth and favour to loads of different recipes.

They’re beyond easy to make but time is the key to getting the lemons depth of flavour.

Thankfully today many supermarkets stock preserved lemons but you should take the tip and make some to have on hand. You won’t be sorry!


Trust the French to come up with the easy and practical cartouche method as a solution to stop meat drying out and liquid evaporating too quickly.

A baking paper (parchment paper) disc of paper is cut out with a small hole in the centre to allow some steam to escape.

The cartouche lid slows the rate of evaporation while still encouraging an even, steady distribution of heat. It is especially useful for slow cooking methods such as these braised Moroccan lamb shanks.

braised moroccan lamb shanks with a baking paper cartouche cut out and placed over meat before cooking

Watch How To Make Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

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What’s your favourite way to cook lamb shanks? We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make these easy braised Moroccan lamb shanks.

braised Moroccan lamb shanks
Yield: 4 serves

Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Braised Moroccan lamb shanks is a perfect meal for when the weather turns cold and bleak. There is a bonus extra with the left over sauce served on some pasta with a fresh gremolata for another meal. Perfect! Who doesn't like a two in one recipe?


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour- optional
  • 4  lamb shanks
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thick slivers
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 preserved lemon, flesh discarded and sliced into thin slices
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • freshly milled black pepper to taste
  • 1kg (1 pound) piece of Kent pumpkin, cut into wedges
  • steamed couscous or quinoa to serve - optional


  • preheat oven to 180c (355f)
  • lightly dust lamb shanks with flour
  • heat oil in a large pan over medium to high heat
  • add lamb and cook, turning occasionally till browned
  • combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, preserved lemon, salt, pepper and 1 cup of water
  • pour over lamb shanks
  • cover with baking paper cartouche and lid- see notes above
  • cook on middle shelf of oven for 1 1/2 hours
  • remove pan and add pumpkin pieces, recovering with cartouche and lid
  • bake for a further 30 minutes or until shanks are fork tender and meat is nearly falling off the bone
  • serve with your choice of couscous, quinoa or rice
  • enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

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