Food Review

Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks


Lamb shanks braised in strong coffee with beef stock, ras al hanout, the Moroccan spice mixture, sliced orange and honey, become succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender. The beans’ earthy, toasty, bitter notes are like a spice that marries with other ingredients to enrich the final taste. Serve with couscous with pine nuts and currants or pilaf. Like many slowly cooked dishes, the meat becomes even more flavorful with reheating.

See other related recipes in Cooking with Coffee.

Yield: 4 lamb shanks

Prep Time: About 3 hours, mostly unattended

Shelf life: At least 4 or 5 days


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 lamb shanks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

7 ounces chopped onion

2 tablespoons ras al hanout

.5 ounce minced garlic

2 cups beef stock

1 cup strong brewed coffee

¾ cup crushed canned tomatoes

3 to 4 tablespoons wildflower honey

1 naval orange, washed and sliced crosswise

½ cup Greek-style plain yogurt, to garnish

Chopped fresh mint leaves, to garnish


  1. In a large heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shanks and brown on all sides, turning to color evenly. Remove to a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the pot, stir in the onion and sauté until soft and lightly browned. Stir in the ras al hanout and garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Pour in the stock, coffee, tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of honey; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, stir in the orange, tightly cover the pot and simmer gently until very tender, about 2 ½ to 3 hours, turning the shanks a couple of time. Taste to adjust the seasonings, adding more honey, as desired. 
  3. Serve with couscous or pilaf and garnished with a drizzle of yogurt sprinkled with chopped fresh mint.

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