Lamb shank with red lentils

This is a recipe from Nigella Lawson gently spiced spoon tender lamb. A rich and beautifully fragrant dish.

Serves6 Origin North Africa and Middle East
Preparation 10 min Heat rating (Medium)
Cooking 2h Ease (Easy)
Vegetarian No


2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Ginger
Tsp, ground Whole Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Ground Turmeric
tsp Crushed Bird's Eye Chilli
6 tbsp ground nut or vegetable oil
6 lamb shanks
2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
Sprinkling of salt
Black pepper
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Marsala or sherry
6 tbsp red lentils


Put 3 tablespoons of the oil into a very large, wide, heavy-bottomed pan and warm over medium heat. Brown the lamb shanks, in batches, in the pan and then remove to a roasting tin or whatever else you've got to hand to sit them in.

Peel the onions and garlic and process in a food processor or chop them finely by hand. Add the remaining oil to the pan, and fry the onion-garlic mush until soft, sprinkling salt over to stop it catching.

Stir in the turmeric, ground ginger, chilli, cinnamon and nutmeg, and season with some freshly ground pepper. Stir again, adding the honey, soy sauce and Marsala. Put the shanks back in the pan, add cold water almost to cover, bring to the boil then put a lid on the pan, lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 to 1 and a half hours or until the meat is tender.

Add the red lentils and cook for about 20 minutes longer without a lid, until the lentils have softened into the sauce, and the juices have reduced and thickened slightly. Check for seasoning.

Serve with couscous sprinkled with few drops of orange blossom water and a touch of cinnamon.

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