Show Stopper Of A Meal – Lamb Shanks!
Have you ever made lamb shanks? I hope to convince you with this recipe.
Hopefully, by now you are getting good at looking at a recipe and knowing whether you can easily and successfully FODMAP IT!™ or not.
This recipe from Bonappetit.com really took me in because of the rich North African flavors and there wasn’t a garlic clove in site to deal with. Don’t be put off by the whole seeds – coriander, cumin and fennel.
I’ll show you a quick trick that doesn’t even require a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Regarding the spices, do make sure yours are fresh as the fragrant combination highlighted in this dish are what makes it so fabulous.
A note on the lamb: the original recipe called for 2 lamb shanks totaling about 2 ½ pounds (1.2 kg). Right away I knew that meant they had used American lamb, the various parts of which are much larger.
I used New Zealand lamb for my version because I like the petite size – I used 4 shanks – because they make a perfect serving size.
Each person gets a shank on their plate, making an impressive presentation, perfect for a dinner party.
Speaking of parties, this is a great do-ahead dish. Make it the day before and garnish right before serving; the flavors even improve. Serve with rice and a green salad.
Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate & Mint
This gorgeous dish is actually very easy. Just read through the directions before starting. Perfect company meal.
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder, ground red serrano chillis
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 (about 2 ½ pounds (1.2 kg)) lamb shanks, use New Zealand lamb for the smaller size
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, virgin or extra virgin, divided
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup (60 g) roughly chopped leeks, green parts only
- 8 single sprigs thyme each about 3 to 4-inches (7.5 cm to 10 cm) long
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) unsweetened cranberry juice
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water or low FODMAP Chicken Stock
- 1/4 cup (38 g) pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup (10 g) mint leaves
Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°/180°
Place coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, chilli powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a heavy zipper top plastic bag. Expel air and leave bag open just a tad. Use a mallet to smash the spices right through the bag or use a rolling pin. Aim for a coarsely ground texture.
Place shanks in a wide bowl and sprinkle with spice mixture and coat with several grinds of black pepper. Use your hands to run it in as evenly as possible. Let sit for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring back to room temperature, if chilled. Sprinkle cornstarch over lamb and again use fingers to pat it onto the meat in an even layer.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large straight sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add shanks and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Use tongs to flip them around.
Once they are browned, transfer them to a platter. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan still over medium heat and add carrots and leeks. Use a wooden spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 2 minutes or until leeks begin to soften.
Add thyme, cinnamon stick, cranberry juice and water, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Add shanks with any of the spice mixture that might have fallen off and season with salt and pepper.
Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise for 1 hour, then check liquid level, making sure there is at least 1-inch (2.5 cm) of liquid in pot adding more water if needed.
Continue braising for about 30 minutes more, then assess doneness. The meat should be very tender and falling off the bone. The meat will also have receded and the bones will be exposed as seen in image.
Remove the thyme stalks and cinnamon stick. The dish is ready to serve or cool, refrigerate in an airtight container and store for up to 3 days. Reheat on stovetop. Adjust seasoning if needed and scatter pomegranate seeds and mint leaves over dish right before serving. We love this served with rice and a green salad.
- You might have to order the lamb shanks ahead of time, so plan accordingly.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.