Try this recipe for a little Middle Eastern magic with a mouth-watering dish of tender lamb in a piquant, fruity sauce served with fluffy buttered cous cous.


  • 2kg/4lbs 6½oz lamb shanks, cut across into slices about 4cm/1½in thick (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • For the Spice Paste

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped

  • 1 red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped

  • Stalks from 20g/¾oz packet fresh coriander, leaves reserved

  • 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper

  • ½ tsp salt

  • For the Tagine

  • 4 tsp ras el hanout

  • 450g/1 lb carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 7.5cm (3in) pieces

  • 200g/7oz onions, sliced

  • 8 x 50g/1¾oz waxy potatoes, such as Charlotte, peeled and left whole

  • 400g/14oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces the same size as the potatoes

  • 450g/1 lb vine-ripened tomatoes, thickly sliced

  • 75g/2½oz dried apricots, (no need to soak)

  • 2 tbsp clear honey

  • 1.2litres/2pints 2fl oz chicken or vegetable stock

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 tsp salt

  • For the Buttered Couscous

  • 450g/1 lb couscous

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 450ml/16fl oz boiling water

  • 25g/1oz butter

  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • 1.

    Trim the lamb of any excess fat and then season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 2.

    For the spice paste, put all the ingredients into a mini-food processor or use a mortar and pestle, and grind to a smooth paste.

  • 3.

    Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the lamb pieces and brown on both sides. Lift onto a plate and set aside.

  • 4.

    Add the spice paste to the remaining oil left in the casserole and fry gently for 2-3 minutes.

  • 5.

    Add the ras el hanout and fry for a further minute.

  • 6.

    Add the carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, apricots and turn over a few times in the spice mixture.

  • 7.

    Return the lamb to the pan and add the honey and enough stock to not quite cover the meat.

  • 8.

    Add the bay leaves and one teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer gently, uncovered, for 1½-2 hours, turning the pieces of meat every now and then as the liquid reduces, until the lamb is tender.

  • 9.

    Ten minutes before the tagine is cooked, put the couscous and salt into a large bowl and stir in the boiling water.

  • 10.

    Cover with a tea towel and leave to soak for five minutes. Then uncover and fluff up into separate grains with a fork.

  • 11.

    Melt the butter with the oil in a large pan, add the couscous and stir over a low heat for a couple of minutes until heated through.

  • 12.

    Skim the excess oil from the top of the stew.

  • 13.

    Chop the remaining coriander leaves, scatter over the top, and serve at the table from the casserole, with the couscous.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

  • Energy 2076kj
  • Fat Total 95g
  • Saturated Fat 38g
  • Protein 123g
  • Carbohydrate 180g
  • Sugar 41g
  • Sodium 3639mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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Posted by Paul339Report
This is a seriously good recipe ans SO easy to cook, Ras al Hanout means ' recipe of chef ' it's a spice blend and the best I have been able to find is from seasoned pioneers, google them, well worth the effort of getting hold of it and using it in this recipe
Posted by Report
Actual translation is 'head of the shop'!
Posted by Report
Since morroco is in north Africa Danielis corect - the translation is 'head of the shop' it is a spice blend containing up to 30 spices (discretion of the shop owner so exact recipes vary - you can get a reasonably priced mix from seasoned pioneers).