Marrakesh Lamb Tangia: Feel-good food to share

What could be nicer, as autumn’s chill sets in, than inviting friends round for a cosy lunch or dinner inspired by the balmy climes of Morocco? This meal’s perfumed perfection is easy to re-create at home. Put everything into a well-sealed saucepan, slow-cook for five hours and let the alchemy happen. Serves 2.

Cumin seeds 2tsp

Whole preserved lemons 4

Garlic cloves 6, peeled

Coriander leaves and stalks handful

Flat-leaf parsley leaves and stalks handful

Saffron small pinch

Ras el hanout tsp

Butter 25g

Olive oil 3tbsps

Lamb shanks 2 (about 400g each)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Green olives tossed in harissa

Moroccan bread, or crusty rolls of your choice

Cumin salt (a mix of cumin, salt and cayenne pepper)

Mint tea

  1. Preheat the oven to 270oC/250oC fan/gas mark 9. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan over a low heat until fragrant. Cool and grind into a powder.
  2. Select an ovenproof pot or saucepan that will fit the lamb shanks snugly. Put the lemons, garlic, coriander, parsley, saffron, ras el hanout, butter, oil and 350ml water into the pot, then add the ground cumin seeds and season well. Mix together. Add the lamb shanks to the pot and push into the liquid.
  3. Cut a round of baking paper to fit the inside the pot. Scrunch it up under the cold tap, then smooth out and lay snugly over the meat. Cover with a large sheet of foil and top with the pot lid. Scrunch the sides of the foil together to seal it. This will help keep in as much moisture as possible, ensuring the meat is meltingly tender.
  4. Transfer the pot to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 160oC/140oC fan/gas mark 3. Cook for 5 hours, or until the meat pulls apart easily at the touch of a fork.
  5. Take off the lid and warm up the mixture on the hob over a medium heat for 3-4 mins so that the sauce thickens a little. Remove from the heat, cover with the lid and set aside to rest for 10 mins. Pour off the excess fat and tip everything onto a warm serving dish. Discard the herbs and serve immediately with the harissa olives, bread, cumin salt and mint tea.
Recipes and images taken from Orange Blossom and Honey by John Gregory-Smith (£19.99, Kyle Books). Food photography by Martin Poole. Location photography by Alan Keohane. Find more Moroccan recipes in the November issue of Top Santè!