I’m glad you’re here because you wont want to miss this new recipe for these Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Shanks. The slow cooker slowly braises these lemon cinnamon-scented lamb shanks and renders them utterly delicious and totally tender.

Moroccan Lamb Shanks Slow Cooker on a serving plate

Why We Love This Recipe For Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Shanks

In culinary school part of our first year curriculum was a class called World Flavors. Every week we would focus on a different region of the world, study their food culture, and how certain cooking techniques and ingredients came to be traditions in each area. In order to cover the whole planet in a month, our chef divided it all up into regions. Then on the last two days of the week we would prepare a feast that featured recipes from that week’s region.

During that month, I remember making preserved lemons from scratch, cooking with rose water for the first time, making home made ras el hanout with about 40 different spices. I’ll never forget the cardamom spiced rice pudding with almonds (kheer) we made when we were focusing on South Asian food. Yum!

When we got to African cuisine, I remember deciding on the spot that it was my favorite week. I think it was the use of preserved lemons that really did me in. And the tagine with prunes! Oh yum! All those sweet and savory and spicy flavors together. Everything was so warm and rich! Gah! I even went out and bought one of Jessica Harris’s cookbooks because I was hungry for more!

As this Moroccan Lamb shank recipe simmered away in the slow cooker on the counter top the house filled with the scent of cinnamon, garlic, saffron and lemon. It reminded me of that World Flavors class and all the amazing riches we tasted all those years ago.

Lamb Shanks on a serving plate

Key Ingredients for This Recipe

Lamb shanks

Lamb shanks is the cut of meat that comes from the leg right above the knee joint. They’re very tough, so they are usually braised slowly in a liquid to to break down the connective tissue and make the meat extra tender. You can find lamb shanks in large grocery stores and high quality health food stores.

You can also find frozen lamb shanks in a number of farm stands or at farmers’ markets. Allow frozen shanks to defrost in the fridge for 48 hours before making this recipe.

Saffron threads

Saffron is a yellow spice with sweet and slightly floral and nutty notes. You can find it in most international/spice aisles these days, but it can get expensive if you’re not careful. If you can’t find it you can use a little turmeric instead.

Chickpeas

I use canned chickpeas in this recipe for convenience. Make sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas well to remove any extra sodium from the chickpea liquid.

Spices

I used a blend of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The cinnamon adds a lovely sweet taste classically used in Moroccan cuisine. Note that cayenne is a hot chili pepper that is exceptionally hot. Be careful to not add too much, especially if you’ll be serving these Moroccan lamb shanks to spice-sensitive folks.

Additional Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, white or yellow
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 ½ -inch wide by 2 inch long strip of lemon peel made with vegetable peeler
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • lemon zest and wedges for serving

Step-By-Step Instructions to Make This Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Step 1: Sear lamb shanks

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb shanks and sear, turning occasionally until browned on all sides, 5 to 7minutes. Transfer to the insert of a large slow cooker.

Step 2: Set Up Slow Cooker

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and add onion, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring often until the onion is browning, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the saffron, cinnamon and cayenne and stir to coat. Add water and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from the skillet. Pour the onion mixture over the lamb shanks. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, honey and lemon peel. Cover and set slow cooker to low for 6 hours.

Step 3: To Finish The Stew

Remove the meat from lamb shanks and stir into chickpea soup. Ladle into 6 bowls. For 4 (more generous portions) serve shanks whole in a pasta bowl with 1 ½ cup soup ladled on top. Garnish with parsley, lemon zest and lemon wedges.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Shanks on HealthySeasonalRecipes.com

FAQs and Expert Tips

Why is it important to brown the lamb shanks first:

By browning the lamb shanks before adding them to the slow cooker you’ll ensure lots of tasty flavor. Browning them in a skillet will also allow the onions and garlic to cook with some of their juices and any extra browned bits.

What to serve with this lamb shanks slow cooker recipe:

When serving this dish I often also make these Roasted Sweet Potatoes or this Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato. I’ll also sometimes make this Simple Skillet Green Bean recipe.

How to make this ahead:

As the lamb has to cook for 6 hours prior to serving it is somewhat a make-ahead recipe. However, if you want to make it the day before instead you can do that as well. Cook the meat, then once the 6 hours are up leave everything in the pot until ready to serve. Heat up in the slow cooker for about an hour before ready to serve.

Additional Moroccan-Inspired Recipes to Try

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Shanks on Healthy Seasonal Recipes by Katie Webster

Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Shanks


  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

The slow cooker slowly braises these lemon cinnamon scented lamb shanks and renders them utterly delicious and totally tender.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 lamb shanks (about 3 ½ pounds)
  • 1 large onion, white or yellow
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 ½ -inch wide by 2 inch long strip of lemon peel made with vegetable peeler
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • lemon zest and wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb shanks and sear, turning occasionally until browned on all sides, 5 to 7minutes. Transfer to the insert of a large slow cooker.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and add onion, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring often until the onion is browning, 4 to 6minutes. Add saffron, cinnamon and cayenne and stir to coat. Add water and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from the skillet. Pour the onion mixture over the lamb shanks. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, honey and lemon peel. Cover and set slow cooker to low for 6 hours.
  3. Remove meat from lamb shanks and stir into chickpea soup. Ladle into 6 bowls. For 4 (more generous portions) serve shanks whole in a pasta bowl with 1 ½ cup soup ladled on top. Garnish with parsley, lemon zest and lemon wedges.

Notes

Makes 24 ounces cooked lamb and 6 cups chickpea soup.

Cooking Tip:

By browning the lamb shanks before adding them to the slow cooker you’ll ensure lots of tasty flavor. Browning them in a skillet will also allow the onions and garlic to cook with some of their juices and any extra browned bits.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top/ Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cup each
  • Calories: 543
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 61 g
  • Fiber: 12 g
  • Protein: 38 g

Keywords: lamb shanks,moroccan lamb shanks