Lamb shanks with chickpeas & Moroccan spices

Lamb shanks with chickpeas & Moroccan spices

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(23 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr, 15 mins - 1 hr, 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs Ready in 4 hrs, plus soaking time for chickpeas

More effort

Serves 4
Couscous goes well with the North African flavours of this dish

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal653
  • fat27g
  • saturates10g
  • carbs55g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre11g
  • protein50g
  • salt0.47g


  • 175g dried chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 4 lamb shanks (medium)



    A lamb is a sheep that is under 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

  • 2 medium onions, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 tsp finely chooped fresh root ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh green chillies, seeded and finely chopped



    Part of the capsicum family, chillies come in scores of varieties and colours (from green…

  • 2 tsp ground cumin



    An aromatic spice native to eastern Mediteranean countries and Upper Egypt. This warm,…

  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • pinch of saffron strands



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 2cm/¼in piece of cinnamon stick
  • 450g carrots, cut into thick slices



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 140g ready-to-eat dried apricots
  • 1 tsp clear honey

To serve

  • 50g blanched almonds, fried in butter until browned
  • chopped fresh coriander


  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain, tip into a saucepan and cover generously with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 45 minutes and drain.

  2. Heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the lamb all over. Remove and set aside. Pour off most of the fat, leaving 1 tablespoon in the dish, add the onions and fry for 8-10 minutes until soft.

  3. Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3/fan oven 140C. Mix together the ginger, garlic, chillies, cumin, coriander, pepper and paprika. Add half of this to the onions, tip in the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Put in the lamb and chickpeas, cover generously with water (about 850ml/11⁄2 pints), bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and cook in the oven for 11⁄2-2 hours until the chickpeas are really tender. (You can prepare up to this stage the day before. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Bring back to simmering point before starting step 4.)

  4. Remove from the oven and stir in the remaining spice mixture, the saffron and cinnamon, carrots, apricots, honey and salt. Cover and return to the oven for 45 minutes-1 hour until the lamb is tender and the vegetables cooked. Scatter the almonds and coriander on top.

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Comments, questions and tips

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11th Mar, 2018
Made this recipe today and we all loved it. As there were just 3 of us I just bought 3 lamb shanks but kept to the same volumes for the rest of the recipe and with a bit of effort we managed to eat it all:-) Used tinned chickpeas so reduced the liquid to 425ml as per the tip, and made it up as lamb stock (using 1 cube) rather than just plain water. We erred on the generous side with spice volumes given previous comments and used 2 homegrown red chillies as didn't have any green. There was a good spice heat. Served the lamb and sauce with couscous with chopped coriander through the couscous as well as on the lamb. Will make again as we really enjoyed the whole thing.
5th Oct, 2014
I cooked it on the stove top in a cast iron dish. Did not use honey and added sweet potato instead of carrot. Also added Lamb stock. Used tinned Chickpeas. Served with couscous I make my couscous by: 1 cup couscous, then 1 cup boiling hotwater with 1 stock cube either Vege or the meat it is serving with. Make sure the stock cube has melted. Then quickly pour water mixture on couscous and put cling film over dish till couscous soaks up water mixture. (This serves 4 people). Excellent dish.
22nd Sep, 2014
I tried this a couple of days ago. I loved it but will add more spices next time round. I added some salt as it was rather fresh... I don't think it called for salt??!!
7th Apr, 2013
I have made this many times over the years and it always tastes delicious!
26th Nov, 2012
I tried this at the weekend with friends and we were all very impressed with the results. Having read some of the other comments, I left out the honey and I this was definitely the right choice. If I cooked it again, I would add less water - a pint or just under would be ample and I think I would add another chilli and a little more garlic and ginger. Overall, very tasty and although it takes a long time in the oven, the preparation is actually very quick and this is a relatively easy meal to get right.
20th Oct, 2012
I shall make this for a lunch and it sounds just perfect for it. The shank can stay in the oven kept warm in case the guests are late. I'm sure the taste of the Moroccan spices enhance the flavour of the meat, together with the touch of honey. I look forward to devouring this dish and sharing it with friends.
11th Mar, 2012
I made this recipe using a slow cooker. i put 6 large lamb shanks in and did 1.5 times the recipe. It needed doubleor more of the spices and other ingredients really. I cooked it for 4 hours on low and was delicious. We served it with the herb couscous from the "moroccan Meatballs with herb couscous" recipe. Will definitely make it again.
3rd Mar, 2012
I made this a few weeks ago - don't know where I went wrong but no intense flavour even though all my ingredients were fresh and I bought good lamb shanks from thebutcher. Maybe I should try again with star anise as was a thin flavour.
10th Sep, 2011
Great recipe. Works really well with a shoulder of lamb too. Just add a touch more of each ingredient and cook for longer. Really beautiful dish- simple to prepare and you can leave it in the oven until you're hungry. Tinned chickpeas work fine too!
11th Jan, 2011
Lovely lovely! Had a small shoulder of lamb which fit into my casserole dish, worked fine. Used a tin of chopped tomatoes and less liquid, very tasty. Used one red chilli as it was all I had - did need a bit more spice and kick but still yummy.


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25th Oct, 2017
I'm a huge fan of this recipe, however, having made it many times, I have some tips... you can skip the 'browning the meat' stage; cook for as long as you can - it'll melt beautifully if you go for long and slow; add a lot more spice - I tend to double all the spices, and add more tomatoes for a slightly richer/flavoursome sauce - taste the sauce when you add the chickpeas to see if it needs a little more oompf; try and remove as much excess fat/skin from the lamb as possible otherwise you will end up with a very fatty sauce; serve with flatbreads made with 50% semolina (as these are great for mopping up the sauce)
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