Pesto Lamb Shank Tagine

Pesto marinated lamb shank tagine

Although this recipe is particularly stunning with lamb shank, any cut of meat that benefits from a low and slow cook will work. Beef shin, diced goat, and pig cheeks are among our favourite alternatives.

A tagine’s conical shape isn’t just for decoration; as your meat cooks, the steam rises to the top, condenses, and trickles back down again, creating a uniquely moist environment in which to cook your “tough” cut of meat. No tagine? No cry. Your standard Dutch oven or casserole dish will work almost as well.

The long cooking time means you can throw it in the oven at lunchtime and serve it to a fanfare in the evening.

Recommended equipment

Pro tip
Switch the canola oil for the oil from a tin of anchovies. Add a few of the fillets while you’re at it too. It will dramatically enhance the complexity of the dish without, believe it or not, adding any fishiness.

Ingredients for two

Ingredient Quantity
Lamb shanks x2
Pesto 1 jar
Shallots x3
Garlic cloves x3
Coconut milk 1 tin
Tinned tomatoes 1 tin
Tomato puree 50g
Lamb stock cube x1
Salt and pepper as needed
Canola oil as needed
Natural yogurt optional

“French” your shank by removing the fat and flesh to expose the end of the bone. It’s optional, but it adds theatre.

If there’s time, you can marinade the shank overnight in yogurt, buttermilk, or anything else with mild acidity to tenderise the meat, but this recipe uses such a low-and-slow cooking process that the results would be negligible.

Season your shank well (we weigh our shanks and season them with 1.25% of their weight in salt) and sear in a ripping hot pan of oil until nicely browned all over. Set aside.

Soften the onion and garlic in the same oil and transfer, along with the shanks and all other ingredients, to your tagine. Cook in a 125°C fan oven for 4-5 hours.

Serving suggestions
Couscous with pomegranate seeds, almonds, and coriander
Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and olives
Pearl barley with molasses, pistachios, and parsley
Rice with harissa, dates, and orange segments
Roast carrots with garlic, lemon zest, cumin, and chives