Moroccan spiced Lamb Shank Soup

Soup is one of my go-to’s for a healthy and satisfying lunch in winter. I tend to make a big pot and portion some out to freeze for another day. This recipe is a nice one to do on the weekend when you are pottering around the house and the soup can simmer away on the stove for a couple of hours.

Start the recipe a day ahead to soak the chickpeas.

In the recipe I say to cut the vegetables into chunks – that is because I throw all of the vegetables into the food processor and blitz until finely chopped as I like the texture of the finished soup when I do this. By all means, if you prefer to chop the vegetables by hand then chop everything roughly the same size.

Serve with some crusty bread or make a batch of flatbreads to serve alongside. I hope you enjoy xx

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 lamb shanks (approx. 1-1.2kg)
1 brown onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 carrot, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
1 small sweet potato OR a chunk of pumpkin (approx 250g), peeled and cut into chunks
a handful of parsley and coriander stalks (you will use the leaves for garnish)
2 tbsp ras el hanout spice blend (I use Herbies, available in-store)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1.25 l water or stock
1/3 cup couscous (optional)
small bunch of parsley and coriander, chopped
1 wedge preserved lemon, rinsed. Discard pulp and chop skin into small dice
250g plain yoghurt

Method:

  1. Place the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, parsley and coriander stalks, and sweet potato or pumpkin in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. You may need to stop the processor a couple of times to scape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Season the lamb shanks with some salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large casserole or stock pot over medium-high heat. When hot add the lamb shanks and cook until browned all over. Remove the shanks from the pot and set aside while you cook the vegetables.
  4. Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the pot and add the vegetables. Season well with a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or so to soften the vegetables. Add the ras el hanout and cook for a minute or until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Now add the lamb shanks back to the pot along with the chickpeas and water or stock. Pop a lid on the pot and bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the lamb is falling off the bone and the chickpeas are tender.
  5. Remove the lamb shanks from the pot and pull the meat off the bones, then return the meat to the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Add the couscous and stir through, place the lid back on the pot and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes to soften the couscous. Stir through most of the chopped parsley and coriander, reserving some for garnish.
  6. Combine the yoghurt and preserved lemon in a bowl.
  7. To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls, sprinkle with chopped hers and dollop with the preserved lemon yoghurt. Serve with crusty bread or flat breads.

If the soup is a little thick simply add some water or stock to achieve the desired consistency.

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