Moroccan lamb shanks with roast beetroot and walnut couscous

These Moroccan lamb shanks are a great rich, hearty winter dinner.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Slow cooker 3 hours
Course Main
Servings 4
Calories 854 kcal
Dairy Free


Lamb shanks

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • ¼ cup plain flour seasoned with 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 400 g can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 orange zest of ½ juice of 1
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix store bought or see recipe below
  • 4 dried figs cut in half (or use 6-8 dried apricots, cut in half)

Roast beetroot and walnut couscous

  • 3 medium carrots chopped into 2-3cm chunks
  • 1 large beetroot chopped into 2-3cm chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • cup walnuts roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup flat-leaf parsley chopped


  • PREHEAT oven to 170°C.
  • Pat lamb shanks dry with paper towels. Coat shanks in seasoned flour. Heat oil in a flameproof, ovenproof casserole dish or large fry-pan on medium heat. Brown shanks all over for 5–6 minutes.
  • While shanks are browning, combine red wine, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, and orange juice and zest.
  • Set browned shanks aside. Wipe casserole dish or pan clean with paper towels to remove any blackened flour. Add a good drizzle of oil to the dish or pan and cook onion and garlic until soft, 2–3 minutes. Add ras el hanout and cook for 1 minute further. Stir in liquid mixture. Return shanks to casserole dish or fry-pan along with figs (or transfer everything to a casserole dish). Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 2½–3 hours until meat is tender.
  • Toss carrots and beetroot with olive oil and honey in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes until vegetables are soft and caramelised.
  • When shanks and vegetables are cooked, make the couscous. Bring stock to the boil in a small pot, remove from heat and stir in couscous. Cover and leave for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and toss with roasted carrot and beetroot, walnuts and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • TO SERVE spoon some couscous onto each plate and top with a lamb shank and a fig. Spoon over some sauce.

Ras el Hanout

  • In a small dry fry-pan on medium heat, toast 2½ tablespoons cumin seeds, 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric and 2 teaspoons black peppercorns for around 1 minutes until fragrant and darkened in colour a little. Grind toasted spices in a mortar and pestle, or in a spice grinder.


I love slow cooked meat on the bone, and Moroccan lamb shanks are a favourite! This dish is perfect for cold winter nights with it’s rich sauce and flavoursome couscous accompaniment. Be sure to add the figs (however you can use dried apricots instead if you like) – they provide a delicious sweetness that compliments the meat. This dish is quick to prepare, however does take a few hours to slow cook, so get it on early in time for dinner, or pre-cook them to have for an easy meal that you just need to heat up (they’ll last in the fridge for 3-4 days, or can be frozen). The North African spice mix Ras el Hanout is used in this recipe – you should be able to find this in the supermarket, or you can make your own – there’s a recipe below. This recipe is from the My Food Bag cookbook Easy Weeknight Meals.