Moroccan Lamb Shanks

This warming meal features the savory spices of North Africa and can easily be made in the oven or slow cooker.

by Dani Yokhna
Moroccan Lamb Shanks. Photo by Rachael Brugger (
Photo by Rachael Brugger

This recipe is good with carrots instead of or in addition to winter squash.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 3 to 4 T. canola oil
  • 4 to 6 lamb shanks (roughly one per person)
  • flour for dredging (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 2 cardamom pods or 1 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 large winter squash, such as butternut, peeled and cut into chunks (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 T. chopped, fresh cilantro or 1 tsp. dried coriander, for garnish


Oven Preparation
Heat oil in Dutch oven over high heat. Dredge shanks in flour if desired. Brown lamb shanks on all sides, setting aside as browned. Before returning shanks to Dutch oven, brown onions and garlic in remaining fat. Add broth, spices and salt to taste. On stove top or in 325-degree-F oven, cook about 2 hours, or until meat is tender. Add squash approximately 30 minutes before end of cooking time. Add dried fruit and cook 15 minutes more or until fruit has plumped and softened. Remove bones before serving if desired. Garnish with fresh cilantro or dried coriander.

Serve with couscous or rice to soak up juices.

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Slow-cooker Preparation
After browning, place shanks, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick and bay leaf in slow cooker. Add 1 T. cumin and 1 cardamom pod or 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (optional), and 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder. Add 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth. Cook 8½ hours on low, adding squash and dried fruit about 30 minutes before end of cooking time.

 Use your leftovers to make Meat Pie with Lamb Shanks.


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