Moroccan spiced Lamb “osso buco”, root vegetable ragu, raisin couscous

I often make lamb shanks with these spices and combination, but these smaller cut “osso buco” (loosely  translated: hole of bone or where the marrow is) are so much easier to cook and eat.



6 small lamb shanks or “osso buco” (about 3 lbs)

2-3 tbsp spice mix: 2 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves, 1 tsp ginger

1 tsp seasoned salt mix

2 tbsp olive oil

fresh rosemary sprigs

1-2 yellow onions, 3/4 inch dice

1/2 cup  celery or fennel

2 carrots, peeled, 3/4 inch dice

2-3 parsnips, peeled, 3/4 inch dice

3 turnips, peeled, 3/4 inch dice

3-4 cloves, garlic, sliced or diced

1 cup marsala wine

1-2 cups crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup red grapes

1/2 cup pitted calamata olives

salt and pepper

2 cups dry couscous

2 cups hot water, or stock

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 tsp olive oil

pinch salt and pepper

fresh or dried herbs (parsley, thyme)


mix together: 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, and mint, lemon zest, grated garlic clove



1.    trim any sliver skin fro the shanks, then rub shanks with spice mix. Have vegetables and other ingredients (except couscous) ready.

2.     Heat oil in large deep roasting pan or dutch oven style pan. Carefully set the seasoned shanks in pan. Brown on each side for about 4 minutes, then turn and brown on the other side. Remove from pan, set on a plate, reserving any liquid.

3.     Add a little more oil if needed, then saute onions in oil. When they have softened, add the other vegetables. Cook a bit to soften. Add the marsala, simmer, then add the tomatoes, grapes and olives.

4.     Place the shanks back, “nestling” them into the vegetables and sauce. Preheat oven to 350°.

5.     Cover the pan with foil. Place in oven and slow cook for at least 1 1/2 hours. (check on the cooking about 1 hour into the cooking (carefully lift foil, and turn the shanks add more liquid if needed.) continue cooking.

6.     Meat should be very tender, but still on the bones.

7.     Prepare the couscous: in a shallow pan or bowl, mix the ingredients together. Cover with plastic or a lid. After 5 minutes, rake couscous with a fork. Serve warm with the shanks.

8.     Finish with some “gremolata”.

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