Lamb Shank Tagine

Pesto marinated lamb shank tagine

Introduction

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 cook time means you can do all the preparation in the morning and serve it to a fanfare in the evening. The smell when you walk in the door after it’s been in the oven for hours is unforgettable.

Recommended equipment
Tagine

Pro tip
Switch the canola oil for the oil from a tin of anchovies. Add a few of the fillets whilst 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

Lamb shanks  x2
Pesto 190g (one jar)
Shallots x3
Garlic cloves x3
Coconut milk 400g (1 tin)
Tinned tomatoes 400g (1 tin)
Tomato puree 50g
Lamb stock cube x1
Salt and pepper as needed
Canola oil as needed
Natural yogurt optional


Method
“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% of its 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