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Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Chickpeas and Dates

A frequently overlooked part of the lamb that's intensely meaty yet exceptionally mild, the shank is an unassuming cut that takes well to any number of ingredients. Dates lend it sweetness; chickpeas, sustenance; and a blend of spices, an undercurrent of warmth.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 2

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2008


  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Soak chickpeas overnight covered in cold water by 2 inches. Drain.

  2. In a mortar, mash garlic, paprika, ginger, coriander, nutmeg, lemon juice, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of cloves with a pestle until a thick paste forms.

  3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Cook until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer lamb to a plate.

  4. Add onion and celery to pot, and cook until light gold, about 5 minutes. Stir in spice paste, and cook 2 minutes. Add chickpeas and water, reduce heat to medium-low, season with salt, and gently simmer for 45 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add lamb and cinnamon stick to pot, and return to a simmer. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until lamb is fork-tender, about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Add dates, and cook for 15 minutes. Skim fat from sauce, and discard. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

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