How good are lamb shanks?  Oh my lordy lord, I just love them.  Particularly when you can just set and forget after minimal prep, come home to a house smelling of rich spices, whack together a quick side and dinner is served.  This one is for the slow cooker my friends, or a good 3-4 hours in a 170°C oven covered with a tight fitting lid.  This is an Em’s Food creation that has made me quite proud!


The lamb shanks were marinated in a Chermoula Spice Paste (Em Style – see link below) overnight to really maximise flavour.  It is a brilliant one to make a double batch of as it is perfect for loads of Middle eastern style dishes.


Prep time:  20 Minutes after marinating               Cooking time:  7 hours on low             $$  Medium Budget


Serves 4


Oil for frying

4 decent lamb shanks, french trimmed

4 tbs of Chermoula Paste (click on link below)

1 cup of beef stock

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 x 400gm tin of crushed tomatoes

2 tbs of honey

4 tbs of greek yoghurt

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Parsley leaves and crushed pistachios for garnish


For the Cous Cous:


1 cup of cous cous

1 cup of chicken stock, warmed

grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 cup of chopped apricots

1/2 cup of toasted pistachios, crushed

1 bag of baby spinach leaves

Sea salt and cracked pepper


Place the lamb shanks in a shallow baking dish and place a tablespoon of chermoula paste on each shank.  Use your hands to really massage the chermoula into the shanks, cover and refrigerate overnight if possible but for a minimum of 2 hours.


Remove the shanks from the fridge and use a spatula to scrape off any excess chermoula paste.  Heat a large frypan and add a little oil.  Fry the shanks on all sides until golden and then place in the slow cooker.  In the same pan, fry the scraped chermoula paste for a couple of minutes until fragrant.  Pour in the lemon juice, stock and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Add the honey and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and once boiling, pour the sauce over the shanks.  Tear off a piece of baking paper and place it on top of the shanks and sauce, tucking the sides down.  Pop the lid on and cook on low for 7 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.  If you are home while they are cooking, baste occasionally but this is not essential.


Toast the pistachios in a dry pan until they are just starting to go golden.  Cool slightly before chopping them roughly or pulsing them in a mini food processor.


Heat the stock in the microwave or on the stove until simmering.  Remove from the heat and pour in the cous cous and pop the lemon rind in.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and allow to stand for approximately 5 minutes.


Heat a fry pan and add a little oil.  Fry the apricots and spinach leaves until they have just wilted.  Remove the lid from the cous cous and fluff with a fork.  Stir through the apricots, spinach and 3/4 of the pistachios and season with a little salt and pepper.


Divide the cous cous between four serving plates.  Carefully, using a large spoon, remove the shanks from the slow cooker (trying to keep the meat intact purely for aesthetic purposes) and place on top of the cous cous.  Stir the sauce in the slow cooker and spoon over the shanks before topping each plate with a dollop of greek yoghurt, a smattering of the pistachios and a few extra parsley leaves.  Serve immediately and enjoy!!