Morrocan lamb

Driving up to my class on Thursday nights, I listen to the radio and often tune into Radio 2, Simon Mayo’s Drivetime, easy listening if you’re trying to concentrate on traffic! On Thursdays a chef comes into the studio and cooks a variety of dishes.Nigel Bardon who is the resident chef cooks all sorts of different things which the studio team taste and comment on. Obviously some of his recipes have appealed to me more than others… I’m not a fan of sausage casserole, which he cooked recently I just can’t abide the texture of lovely sausages cooked this way… but it was still interesting to listen to! They forgot to mention the best sausages in the world, though, Powter’s!

A couple of weeks ago, Nigel cooked a delicious sounding Moroccan dish with lamb shanks. I downloaded the recipe, and we had a go at cooking it. I had to adapt the recipe slightly because I had a small leg of lamb instead of the lamb shanks, and although I bought the ingredients for the garnish, I completely forgot to use them! Never mind! It was so utterly delicious that we are definitely going to cook it again, and again and again… and we will have the garnish next time!

We didn’t eat it with cracked wheat, although we do like it; we had some nice crusty bread and a garnish of watercress. Anyway, here is the recipe Nigel used:

Lamb Tagine with cracked wheat, mint and preserved lemon

by Oliver Lesnik

Serves 5

Prep time 30-40 mins
Cooking time 3-4hrs

  •  5 small lamb shanks
  • 2 dsp sweet paprika (best quality v important)
  • 1 dsp fennel seeds
  • 1½ sticks cinnamon
  • 4 dsp turmeric
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • ½ dsp coriander seeds
  • 2½ star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 ½ large strong onions (v finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 red chillies (finely chopped)
  • 25g fresh ginger (peeled & grated)
  • 1½ litres chicken or lamb stock (homemade preferably)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

For the Garnish

  • 2-3 preserved lemons
  • 5 dried prunes (pre-soaked)
  • Handful toasted almonds
  • Handful chopped coriander
  • Handful chopped mint

1. Bring a large pan up to temperature & cover the base of the pan with a good amount of olive oil.

  1. Season the lamb shanks with salt & place carefully in the pan.
  2. Turn the shanks every 2 mins or so until you have achieved an even golden brown colour all over.
  3. Remove shanks from pan.
  4. To the same pan, add the very finely chopped onions.
  5. Reduce heat & cook onions, constantly stirring until translucent but with minimum colour.
  6. Add all spices to the pan, return to heat & stir constantly to avoid the spices catching on the bottom of the pan. If the mix becomes to dry add a little more oil.
  7. Cook the spices out until they start to release their oils. At this point add the garlic & ginger & chopped chillies.
  8. Return the lamb shanks to the pan with any juices & turn them over in the pan until completely encased in the onion & spices.
  9. Arrange in pan so all the bones are upright, ensuring the largest part of the shanks are on the bottom of the pan.
  10. Cover in chicken stock, bring to boil, cover dish with foil or a lid & place in oven at 160*c for 3-4 hours or until tender (meat is coming away from the bone)
  11. At this point, remove the shanks, cover in foil to stop drying out & reduce the sauce to desired consistency (so it can cling to the lamb, but not too thick as the spices can become bitter).


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