For the chermoula marinade

For the tagine

  • 6 lamb shanks or a 1kg/2lb 4oz piece lamb or mutton shoulder (if using shoulder ask the butcher to cut it into 10cm chunks on the bone)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 12 dried prunes
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • juice ½ lemon
  • 8 merguez sausages (optional)
  • 2 preserved lemons, homemade (see recipe below) or bought, pulp scooped out, rinsed and finely sliced
  • 2 mint sprigs, to serve
  • harissa, to serve (see recipe below)


  • STEP 1

    For the marinade, roast the spices in a dry pan for a couple mins until fragrant. Put remaining marinade ingredients in a blender and process to a smooth paste, then add the roast spices and blend again to combine. Place the lamb in a large bowl and pour over the marinade. Leave in the paste overnight, or for at least 2 hrs to absorb all the flavours.

  • STEP 2

    Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. In a large roasting tin, big enough to fit the meat in one single layer, heat the oil and place over a high heat on the hob. Remove the meat from the marinade, wiping off and reserving any excess, then brown shanks on all sides in the hot oil.

  • STEP 3

    Add remaining marinade to the dish along with the carrots, onions and prunes, then pour in 1 litre water. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook in a low oven for 3½-4 hrs until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone. Add the honey, lemon juice and seasoning and keep warm.

  • STEP 4

    If using, fry the sausages until cooked through, then add to the tagine. Serve the meat in a large bowl with the sauce spooned over, then scatter with the preserved lemons and mint, and serve the harissa on the side.


Merguez are thin, harissa-flavoured lamb sausages. If the idea of eating sausages as well as lamb is too much, just cook the shanks, then this dish will serve 6.

Goes well with


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