Spicy Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Lamb
Serves/Qty: 4
Heidi Strydom

This is my go-to lamb shank recipe. Gorgeous sauce and fall-off-the-bone lamb. What's not to like?

Marthinus Strydom

The Story

Slow cooked lamb shanks have their origins in traditional cuisine from various parts of the world. Lamb has been a staple food in many cultures for centuries, and slow cooking is a popular method of cooking tougher cuts of meat to make them tender and flavorful.

One of the most well-known cuisines that feature slow cooked lamb shanks is Mediterranean cuisine, where lamb is often used in stews, tagines, and other slow-cooked dishes. In particular, slow cooked lamb shanks are a popular dish in Moroccan cuisine, where they are often cooked with spices, vegetables, and fruit to create a flavorful and aromatic dish.

In addition to Morocco, slow cooked lamb shanks are also a popular dish in other Middle Eastern and North African countries, such as Iran, Iraq, and Egypt. These dishes often feature a blend of spices and herbs, such as cinnamon, cumin, and coriander, which give the lamb a rich, complex flavor.

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Adjust Quanities

For the Lamb
4 lamb shanks
olive oil, for frying
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and thickly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 bottle red wine
500 ml chicken stock
small handful of mint leaves, to garnish
For the Marinade
2 green chillies, deseeded and sliced, to taste
2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced, to taste
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cinnamon sticks, snapped in half
3 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped and crushed
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. First prepare the marinade. Mix the chillies (use only one of each if you don’t like hot dishes), smoked paprika, oregano, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and seasoning together. Rub the mixture into the lamb so that it is well flavoured. You can cook the lamb straight away, but if you have time, cover and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour, or even overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas 3.
  3. Heat a large casserole dish on the hob and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the lamb in it for about 6 minutes until coloured on all sides, then add the chillies and cinnamon from the marinade.
  4. Add the carrots, onion and bay leaves to the casserole and brown for a minute or two. Lift the lamb so that it is resting on top of the onions and carrots. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits from the bottom, then bring to the boil and cook for 7–8 minutes to reduce the liquid by half. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil, then transfer, uncovered, to the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours until the meat is really tender and the sauce reduced. (If the tops of the shanks look like they might be drying out, just baste and occasionally turn them.)
  5. Remove the cooked meat from the oven and serve garnished with torn mint leaves and the cooking juices spooned on top.