Lamb Shank Tagine with Sweet Dates & Pomegranate

Yield Serves 4 generously
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 4 Lamb Volcano Shanks 
  • Coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed & finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 container Veal Demi-Glace
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick, about 2” long
  • 2 teaspoons dried ground ginger
  • 2 dozen Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup pomegranate pips
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Flat bread, for serving
Recipe notes
Adapted from a recipe by David Tanis, these slow-cooked lamb shanks are beautifully spiced and spoon-tender. Dates give some body and sweetness to the sauce while fresh pomegranate pips add lift.
RECIPE Preparation
  1. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. To a small bowl add garlic, fresh ginger, paprika, cumin, coriander, and 1 teaspoon of water; mix well. Rub the spice mixture all over shanks and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Heat the ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Lightly brown the shanks, in batches if necessary, as not to crowd the pan. Set shanks aside on a rimmed plate. Raise heat to medium-high. Add onions, season with salt and cayenne; sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Finely chop 8 of the dates, add to pot. Stir in tomato paste, cook about 1 minute more. Add cinnamon stick; stir in ground ginger. Add shanks back to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Nestle the lamb among the onion mixture.
  4. Add demi-glace and enough water to almost cover lamb (about 2-3 cups). Bring to a simmer, cover pot with a tightfitting lid and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes then lower heat to 350 degrees F. Continue cooking until lamb is tender (but not quite falling off the bone), about 2 hours.
  5. Remove meat from pot and place in deep, wide serving bowl, cover with foil. Skim off surface fat from cooking liquid in pot. Remove cinnamon stick; discard. Add whole dates and raisins to pot and simmer over medium-heat for about 15 minutes to reduce sauce slightly. Remove the foil and pour sauce over meat. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and cilantro, serve with flat bread.

Recipe Tips: This can also be made in a traditional tagine if your tagine is rated for extreme heat. You can also use a decorative tagine for serving, as we did. If serving more than 4 people, you can shred the lamb off the bone before serving. This dish is also delicious with couscous.