Lamb Shank Tajine with Apricots and Prunes

There is something about lamb shanks that’s just wonderful: slowly simmered over a low heat, the tender meat just falls off the bone and normally arrives in some delicious, tomatoey, Provencal-type sauce. Well, it did until my favourite local restaurant closed down, and since then I’ve felt somewhat bereft.

Then I spotted some lamb shanks in my local supermarket – at what I considered to be a bargain price. I bought some and cooked them for guests, choosing a Jamie Oliver recipe. I hate to say it, but I was a little disappointed in the resulting flavour – it just didn’t quite hit the spot that my old restaurant’s used to. Undeterred, I tried again a few weeks later, and this time turned to Claudia Roden, doyenne of Middle Eastern/North African cookery. Her lamb tajines are normally made with meat cut from the shoulder or leg, and include either prunes or apricots. But the principle is the same: meat, slowly simmered in a gently-spiced sauce; so, I thought to myself, why not try it with a lamb shank?

Daringly, I decided to use prunes and apricots together, because you can’t have too much of a good thing in my opinion. And if I say so myself, the result was pretty divine.

For two people, you will need:

1 lamb shank

1 large onion, chopped

1 tbsp sunflower oil

¾ tsp cinnamon

a pinch of saffron

½ tsp cumin

a pinch of cayenne pepper

½ inch fresh ginger, chopped or sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

salt and pepper

a handful each of dried apricots and prunes

In a large, deep pan that has a lid, fry the onion in the oil until soft. Stir in the cinnamon, saffron, cumin and cayenne, and then add the meat, browning it on all sides in the spicy oil. Add the ginger, garlic, seasoning and about half a pint of water, and stir. Simmer gently, with the pan covered, for about an hour and a half, checking every now and again that the sauce isn’t drying up. Add more water if necessary. Add the fruit and cook for another half an hour.

Serve with couscous, rice or bulgur wheat as desired, and some veggies on the side.

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Comments 4 comments

travelschooling profile image

travelschooling 4 years ago from Australia

That's got me wanting to step away from the computer and actually cook something for a change! Thanks

Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France Author

Hi travelschooling - do give it a try, I'm sure your family would love it!

Healthyannie profile image

Healthyannie 3 years ago from Spain

Awesome recipe! Just finished enjoying lunch and our lamb. Egypt is the perfect place for this recipe and with a backdrop of the Pyramids and a South African wine it was nothing less but heavenly. Thank you Annie and Tarik and our multi culture guests.

Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 3 years ago from South of France Author

Ooh, you've shamed me now, Healthy Annie - lamb with South African wine against a backdrop of the Pyramids - that's the way to do it!! Jealous, me?!

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