Slow Cooked Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Caramelised Onions

Serves 4


For the marinade

  • 2 tbsp Ras el Hanout spice mix
  • ¼ tsp saffron, soaked in 3 tbsp cold water
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes

For the tagine

  • 4 lamb shanks, approx. 300g each
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 25g butter
  • 3 large onions, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 150g stoneless dates, halved
  • 200ml Essential Cuisine lamb or chicken stock
  • 5-6 sprigs rosemary, stalks removed then chopped


  1. Place the marinade ingredients in a small food processor and blend for a few seconds until a paste forms. Alternatively, pound the ingredients together using a mortar and pestle. Place the lamb shanks in a large bowl and season with the salt and black pepper then rub the marinade into them. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to develop.
  2. To prepare the caramelised onions, gently melt the butter in a frying pan, add the onions and sprinkle over the sugar. Cook on a very gentle heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion caramelises then set aside.
  3. Heat a large pan, add the lamb shanks in batches and brown the meat on all sides then transfer to the tagine. Layer the carrots, dates and onions on top of the lamb then pour over the stock. Place the tagine on a heat diffuser over a low heat, cover and simmer very gently for 2-2½ hours or until the lamb is tender. Stir after an hour and remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to thicken the sauce. Taste then add more salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon off any residual fat and stir in the rosemary. Serve with couscous.