Main Dish

North African Braised Lamb Shanks

Merriam Vineyards

11650 Los Amigos Road
Healdsburg, CA 95488

This beautiful winter dish is easy since you have most of the ingredients in your pantry. It’s the perfect pairing for Merriam Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Serve it to your family or make it when you have guests over for dinner. You can toast and grind the spices yourself, or purchase ground spices.

Spice Blend

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Pinch of ground cloves
To prepare the spice rub, in a small bowl, stir together the cumin, fennel, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, paprika and cloves. 

Braised Lamb Shanks

  • 2 pounds boneless lamb shanks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups Merriam Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Couscous or rice for serving
To prepare the braised lamb shanks, rub the lamb with 2 tablespoons of the spice blend (reserve the rest for another use). Season the lamb with salt and refrigerate overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, warm the vegetable oil. Add the lamb shanks and sear until browned on all sides. Add the carrot, onion, celery, wine, port, stock and tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with the lid or with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven and cook until the lamb is tender, 3 to 4 hours.

Transfer the meat to a large bowl and cover with foil. Put the sauce and vegetables through a food mill, transfer to a saucepan and simmer until reduced to a sauce-like consistency. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve the lamb over couscous or rice and spoon the sauce over the meat.