moroccan chickpea stew with dates and lamb

This past year we bought a lamb share from our CSA crop-share.  The share gave us many of our favorite cuts (steaks, chops and ground) but we also ended up with some cuts that aren’t in our regular rotation so I did some experimenting to come up with new recipes. These Moroccan-style lamb shanks are delicious and the sauce is my favorite part of the dish.  Nutty chickpeas and a warm blend of spices make this a very homey meal that is impressive enough to serve to company.  You don’t need to make this dish a day in advance, though the flavor will improve even more if you do.   Serve the shanks over quinoa or cous cous and pair it with Zinfandel (preferably from Napa, CA).

Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Yield: 2 servings

Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Slow-braising the lamb shanks will make the meat tender - almost falling off the bone. Serve the lamb shanks and sauce over quinoa or cous cous and pair it with a Zinfandel.


  • 2 lbs. lamb shanks
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots (about 2 large), diced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 15 oz. water
  • 15 oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine salt through coriander in a small bowl; sprinkle mixture over lamb shanks. Heat large cast-iron skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. olive oil when hot. Cook seasoned lamb shanks until browned on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove lamb shanks from the pan and set aside.
  • Reheat skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining olive oil (1/2 Tbs.) to skillet along with onions and cook until soft and slightly browned. Add carrots and cook until slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add red wine through chickpeas and stir to combine. Cut lemon in half, add juice to the skillet, remove seeds and add 1 lemon half to the skillet, along with the cinnamon stick, dates and additional salt. Cook until the sauce has reduced somewhat, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the lamb shanks to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the meat is falling off the bone, about an hour and a half.


This recipes can be doubled to serve 4 (increase cooking time to 2-3 hours). Make ahead tip: The lamb can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and gently rewarmed on the stove.