Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks served with an Almond Currant Whole Wheat Couscous


Time consuming but worth it 🙂

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 3.2 hrs

Serves: 4


  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 meaty lamb shanks (about 1 1/4 pounds each)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon harissa or other chile paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 C. whole wheat couscous
  • 1/4 cup dried currants


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the skillet.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the onion, carrots and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and cook, stirring until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and harissa and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and boil until reduced to a thick syrup, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of the chicken stock to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Nestle the lamb shanks in the liquid. Cover tightly and braise in the oven for about 3 hours, basting occasionally, until the meat is almost falling off the bone. Transfer the shanks to a platter and cover with foil. Leave the oven on.
  4. Spread the almonds in a pie pan in an even layer and toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden.
  5. Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing on the vegetables; skim any fat. Return the sauce that’s in the bowl to the skillet and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Return the vegetables and lamb to the sauce and keep warm. (this sauce will be used to drizzle over the entire dish when plating).
  6. In a small bowl, mix the mint with the cilantro and almonds and season lightly with salt and pepper (set aside).
  7. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the shallot and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the couscous and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the currants. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in half of the herb-almond mixture.
  8. Mound the couscous in the center of a large platter. Arrange the lamb shanks around the couscous and spoon the sauce on top. Sprinkle with the remaining herb-almond mixture and serve.
  9. Serve with green beans if desired.

All of the flavors in this dish are really nice, it’s not overpowering whatsoever.  It’s a great combination of fresh herbs and spices that make up a truly delectable treat.

Pair with a glass of Bordeaux or Run mojito with fresh mint!



About zestybeandog

I live in Austin with my wonderful husband, dog Ginger, and cat Skiddy. We are a pretty laid back group (except for Ginger). When I'm not teaching yoga, personal training, or dog walking... I'm in the kitchen. I'm always experimenting with new ingredients and thinking of ways to prepare fresh foods in a unique way. I hope to update the blog 4-5 times a week. I've had several friends, family, and clients inquire about my recipes so here it goes. What to expect: Healthy recipes that are good for you, some classics (that have been spruced up), some not so healthy recipes (still made with quality ingredients that can be enjoyed in moderation), and beer and wine parings/reviews! I hope you enjoy, cheers!

3 responses »

  1. Dear Zesty Bean Dog, Now you really got my attention again…..mmmmm… mouth is watering looking at your photo of the LAMB SHANKS……actually it is still watering from last nights Roasted Hatch Chile Chicken Enchiladas. OK…..enough is enough…….I’m only going to ask you one more time and please respond back this time….”What time is dinner being served?” I need at least 2 hours notice….would you prefer a bottle of Chardonnay or Bordeaux to compliment tonight’s dinner? I am anxiously awaiting for your response. Micro-Waving Momma

  2. greetings, i am cooking this right now and it smells great! i would suggest though that yu edit the steps though because they are a bit confusing. like what’s really the point of step 5? and do yu add the mix from step 6 to the cous cous because it doesn’t say set aside and then step 8 uses the word “remaining” like it was to be used somewhere else. i might just be hooked on phonics so excuse me 🙂 but i think a little more clarity would help some of ure followers like mua thanks

    • Hi there!
      I looked it over and changed some things up, would you let me know if it makes more sense this way. How did it turn out? Sorry for the confusion. I hope you enjoyed it!

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