Slow-cooked lamb shank and giant couscous salad

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An amazing collision of North African flavours.

Slow-cooked lamb shank and giant couscous salad.
Photo: Angela Moore


  • For the spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • For the vinaigrette
  • 50g olive oil
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout (Moroccan spice mix sold at delis or
  • 20g sherry vinegar
  • 5g dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp spice mix (above)
  • For the lamb
  • 1.5kg lamb stock
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • 200g giant couscous (also known as Israeli couscous)
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp spice mix (above)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • To finish and serve
  • 5g parsley leaves
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 5 large basil leaves
  • 1 pomegranate, de-seeded


For the spice mix, mix the ground spices thoroughly, and pass through a fine sieve.

For vinaigrette, heat 10 grams of olive oil in a saucepan, add the ras el hanout. Heat gently for three to four minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining olive oil. Set aside to cool. Whisk the sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and one teaspoon of spice mix in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in the ras el hanout oil while whisking.

To cook the lamb, pre-heat oven to 100C. Pour one kilogram of lamb stock into a casserole, place over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and add the shanks. Cover and cook in oven for four to five hours. Remove and allow shanks to cool in the liquid. When cool, shred the meat and set aside. Reduce the braising liquid to 200 grams in a saucepan over a high heat. Remove the stock from the heat. Add the sprigs of rosemary; allow to infuse for 10 minutes before straining and discarding the herbs.

Coat the bottom of a saucepan with a thin layer of olive oil and place over a medium heat. Add couscous and saute in the oil, stirring constantly, until grains are golden. Add remaining 500 grams of lamb stock to cover the couscous and bring to the boil. Cook for six to seven minutes or until the couscous is cooked, then drain.

In the meantime, heat a thin layer of olive oil in a small frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for seven to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with half a teaspoon of the spice mix and a little salt. Mix the shredded lamb with the reduced stock, sprinkle the meat with the ras el hanout and remaining teaspoon of spice mix. Season with salt to taste. When ready to serve, chop herbs. Mix with drained couscous, meat mixture, half the pomegranate seeds and sauteed onions. Stir through most of the vinaigrette and pile the couscous into a serving bowl. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle with remaining pomegranate seeds.

A delicious combination of shredded spicy lamb, herbs, onions, pomegranate seeds and giant couscous.

Some of the dish's distinctive flavour comes from ras el hanout, a traditional North African spice mix available from ethnic stores or good supermarkets.

Pomegranate seeds are another traditional North African flavouring. The easiest way to remove them is to cut the fruit in half and, holding it over a bowl, hit the skin with a spoon, which should dislodge the seeds into the bowl.

Recipe from Heston Blumenthal at Home, by Heston Blumenthal, published by Bloomsbury, $65.

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  • Main Ingredients - Lamb
  • Cuisine - African

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