What’s cooking today: Lamb shank & date tagine

What’s cooking today: Lamb shank & date tagine
Tony Jackman’s lamb shank and date tagine with homemade ras el hanout, on a Mervyn Gers Ceramics plate. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Lamb, dates and spices make a delectable threesome, especially when cooked slowly in a tagine, and the magic that the conical lid achieves.

This recipe for a North African tagine is flavoured and scented with ras el hanout, which refers to the best spices available at the spice store, all mixed together to create something very special.

Recipes, as a result, vary greatly, and you can take that basic premise and mix your own. But do include cinnamon, cumin, ginger, coriander, black pepper and fenugreek, if you want a mixture close to authentic. I also used allspice, cloves and of course chilli.


4 lamb shanks

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 red onions, quartered

250 g dates, chopped

1 red pepper, cut in julienne strips

800 ml vegetable stock

2 Tbsp ras el hanout spice mix (see below)

Kosher salt to taste

Fresh mint for garnish

For the ras el hanout:

1 heaped tsp ground cumin

1 heaped tsp ground ginger

1 heaped tsp kosher salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon dried chillies

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cloves


Preheat the oven to 180℃. In a small bowl, mix the spices together. After you’ve prepared the dish in a tagine, store the rest in a glass jar.

Brown the shanks on all sides in olive oil. Add the wedges of red onion, the dates and red pepper, season with salt and sprinkle the ras el hanout over.

Pour the stock all around. Put the lid on the tagine and place in the preheated oven to cook for about three hours. Pour the liquid off into a saucepan and reduce on a high heat until it has become a beautiful sauce.

Serve with couscous and the sauce, garnished with fresh mint. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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