This Moroccan Lamb Shank Tagine originated in my father's hometown of Marrakech and is packed with flavors of garlic, preserved lemon and lamb. You will love the sauce this dish provides served with a fresh baguette or over a bed of couscous.
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If you're in need of a great recipe to showcase preserved lemons, look no further. This lamb shank tagine (tajine) is the perfect example of the power of their flavor!
With the powerful preserved lemons, fresh garlic and traditional Moroccan spices, this recipe is the key to creating a truly drool-worthy lamb tagine.
If you ever get the chance to try this tagine in its city of origin, Marrakech, you'll see chefs in the Medina pulling tall clay pots (with a different shape than a classic tagine) out of the ground to serve you Tangia from.
That's right, Tangia isn't traditionally made in a tagine. It's perfectly achievable in one, but there's something truly special about witnessing the dish in it's traditional glory.
What You'll Need to Make this Lamb Tajine
There are a few special ingredients you'll want to make sure to have on hand before prepping this recipe. Some can be easily substituted, others are pretty crucial to the integrity of the recipe.
Here's what you'll need:
- lamb shanks, cut into 3-4 inch cubes
- garlic, minced
- preserved lemon, diced with seeds removed
- saffron (use twice the turmeric if you can't find saffron)
- olive oil
- ghee (use twice the olive oil if you can't find ghee)
- OPTIONAL: parsley, minced for garnish
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Start by preheating your oven to 275 degrees. We want a nice low temperature to slow cook the lamb shanks and achieve that desirable fall apart texture. Arrange the lamb shanks in the base of the tagine.
Next, in a small bowl combine the minced garlic, preserved lemon, spices, oil, ghee and water. Mix all of that together well before pouring over the lamb.
Cover the tagine and bake for 2 hours or until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Enjoy with your favorite bread (khobes) to soak up the sauce or over freshly cooked couscous with a sprinkle of minced parsley.
Once you've perfected this lamb shank tagine, you've got a wonderful sort of blank canvas that can be easily built off of.
Here are some easy additions you could toss into your tagine to mix things up. Keep in mind if you add new ingredients at the beginning of your cook time, they may get soft and mushy so I recommend adding any other vegetables in the last hour to keep their integrity.
full disclosure, the ideas I'm sharing below are actual Moroccan tajines I grew up eating that can be made with both lamb or beef. I'm hoping to share official recipes for these delicious combos at some point in the future 🙂
- Green beans & tomato - truly a magical combination of veggies, the crunch of the green beans is great with the hit of acidity from the tomatoes
- Artichoke hearts & peas - I'm pretty much always looking for places to incorporate artichoke hearts, so this variation has a really special place in my heart
- Apricots or prunes & almonds - this one wasn't my favorite as a kid but it has really grown on me as an adult. The sweet concentrated bite from the prunes is really spectacular with the savory lamb and crunchy almonds.
What to Serve with Your Tajine
I recommend serving lamb tajine (or any tajine) with a collection of Moroccan salads. Not only is it the traditional pairing with for dish like this, it's also a much needed bite of freshness for this tajine in particular.
- Salads - This tomato salad is my personal favorite for this dish but you'll also enjoy this carrot salad and lentil salad.
- Mint tea - if you're looking for the perfect drink to pair with your meal, look no further than a cup of Moroccan mint tea.
- Fresh fruit - in Morocco fruit is widely accepted as a form of dessert, and is frequently served on large platters directly after the meal.
- With rice - this feels almost sacriligeous but I've enjoyed my tagines with this turmeric basmati rice a few times and it tastes pretty right.
By now you've likely realized that the only special tool you will need to make Tangia is a clay pot like a tajine or tangia (the tall clay pots they make Tangia in in Marrakech).
I'm extremely lucky to have inherited all of my tajines from my dad but I know sourcing one directly from Morocco isn't exactly easy for most of us.
That's why I've compiled a short list of some of my favorite brands you can find domestically for you to shop from.