Mrouzia Lamb Shanks

by Olivia McCrimmon June 18, 2021 2 min read

Mrouzia Lamb Shanks

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This recipe is adapted from Nargisse Benkabbou’s excellent book “Casablanca: My Moroccan Food”. Mrouzia is usually served to celebrate Eid al-Adha. The sauce is rich, deeply savoury and decadently sweet. A perfect winter weekend cook. Serve with couscous.

(3.5 hours) Serves 3


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lamb shanks
  • 2 large brown onion, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • ½ cup blanched almonds
  • 100 grams dark raisins
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Couscous to serve


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a tagine, large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

  2. Working in batches if needed, add the lamb shanks and cook until browned on each side, about 15 minutes. Transfer the browned lamb shanks to a dish and set aside until ready to use.

  3. Reduce the heat under the pot to medium, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the onion, garlic, ras el hanout, salt, cinnamon and saffron and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Return the lamb shanks to the pan, add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. (The meat of the shanks should be mostly covered, but not necessarily fully submerged in the stock.) Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked and fork tender, about 2.5 hours, depending on the size of your shanks. If it looks like there isn’t enough liquid in the pan and the tagine is drying out at any point during the cooking process, add a couple tablespoons of water.

  5. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the almonds out on a tray and roast for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden, giving them a good stir halfway through to make sure that they roast evenly. Remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle, then grind using a food processor or crush with a rolling pin until coarsely ground. Set aside until ready to serve.

  6. Once the lamb shanks are fully cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add the raisins and honey to the sauce and gently stir to combine. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to a syrup-like consistency and the raisins are plump.

  7. When the sauce is ready, return the lamb shanks to the pan to warm them through and coat them with the sauce. Garnish with almonds and serve immediately with fluffy couscous or crusty bread.