Spice blends are quintessential in my kitchen and their beautiful aromas are a huge motivating factor for me to create dishes .Throughout my blog I will be using various spice blends used in cuisines all over the world. In this dish I have used Ras-el-Hanout a North African spice blend and one of my personal favorites. The literal translation of Ras -el-Hanout is “the head of the shop” indicating it’s a top shelf spice and it lives up-to it’s reputation. There are variations in the blending depending upon who you buy the spice from. My spice blend consisted of mustard, pepper,cardamom,coriander, cumin, cinnamon,allspice, chili flakes, star anise, hibiscus, cloves and lavender. The spice is dry roasted in a pan to release the fragrant oils and then ground using a mortar pestle. Suggested drink pairing with the braised lamb shank is a mojito as the coolness of the drink goes well with the spicy and bold flavors of the dish . An alternative accompaniment is Moroccan iced tea.


  •  2 lamb shanks
  • 3 teaspoon Ras-el-hanout
  • 1 red chilli and 1 green chilli
  • 3 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 large onion thickly sliced.
  • 2 Carrots chopped into 1/2″ pieces.
  • 2 Bay leaves.
  • 2 cups Red Wine
  • 1 cup lamb stock ( 2 cups chicken stock can be used instead )
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil.

1. Season the lamb shanks with salt, pepper,ras-el-hanout and chillies. Add the chopped garlic to the seasoned lamb shanks. Drizzle olive oil over the lamb shanks and massage the spices, chillies and garlic so that the lamb shanks are well coated with the seasoning. Let the lamb marinade anywhere from 1 hr to overnight. Longer the marination greater the flavor.

2. In a cast iron deep dish pot or a dutch oven heat the olive oil. Add the lamb shanks holding the bone with the meaty part facing towards the pan. Add the chillies and rest of the marinade. Sear the lamb, turning it evenly till the fat starts rendering.

3. Add the sliced onion and carrots. You do not want to cut them too thinly as it would burn during the braising process.Cook for 3-4 minutes. Try to get the carrots and onions under the lamb shanks.

4. Deglaze the pan with red wine. Then add the lamb stock. Add a little water if required.

5. Put the cast iron pot into the oven uncovered at 245 F for 3.5 hours. Keep in mind it is essential to put the lamb uncovered in the oven as covering the lamb will lead to formation of moisture and loss of the beautiful color formed during the searing process. Voila! You have tender lamb falling off the bone. Garnish with mint leaves as shown in the picture. It can be served with pita bread, naan bread or plain white basmati rice.

North African Braised Lamb Shank

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