Lamb shanks are rich, meaty, and succulent as the layer of fat that envelopes each shank bastes them while they cook. This Moroccan version features aromatic spices, which blend to give the shanks a punchy taste, while never overpowering their natural flavor. The addition of pomegranate juice brings a subtle sweet tart flavor to the sauce.
Behind the Counter: The singular taste of lamb shanks really has no equal. Alternate cuts short ribs (+$) or osso buco (+$) or even turkey drumsticks cut osso buco style (-$).
2 cups beef stock
1 cup pomegranate juice (derived from the seeds of 1 large or 2 medium pomegranates) or bottled juice
1 cup sweet red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 dozen juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 (12- to 16-ounce) lamb shanks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the shanks with kosher salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a braising pot and brown the shanks, over medium to high heat, on all sides, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stand the shanks on the edges to brown all sides. Remove the shanks and cook and stir the onion and garlic, over medium heat, until lightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spices, tomato paste, wine and stock. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the shanks to the pot cover and roast at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Check the shanks every 30 minutes, turning them over in the sauce each time you check and admire them. While the lamb cooks, Process the pomegranate seeds if starting from scratch (see feedback), otherwise take a well deserved break.
When the lamb is nearly cooked, after 1 1/2 hours, add the pomegranate juice. Continue cooking 30 minutes longer or until the meat on the shank is buttery soft and nearly falling off the bone. When finished, the sauce will be thick and concentrated (you can thin it with a little water or stock if needed). Spoon the sauce over the shanks and serve alongside rice, noodles or couscous.