For today’s Tagine Masterclass recipe, I drew inspiration from an old Persian family favourite, Khoresh Rivas, or Rhubarb Stew. The Persian rhubarb stew is pretty simply flavoured, with just a few ingredients, and I’ve tried to keep with that theme for this Lamb Shank and Rhubarb Tagine dish as well, going with flavours that will both complement and contrast with the sweet and sour nature of rhubarb.
As it’s spring time here in the northern hemisphere, both lamb and rhubarb are in season, so what better time to make this tagine recipe then now? I happen to have a whole lot of rhubarb at home, and have been playing around with it in the kitchen quite a bit. Look out for my experiment-gone-right Rhubarb Margarita nearer this weekend!
This Lamb Shank and Rhubarb Tagine is a delicious pot of meltingly tender bold meat, that’s complemented by the sharp and sour rhubarb, the sweet tomatoes and all the flavours further enhanced and brought together by the sweet and a touch sour apples. Some bread, in my opinion, is the best way to enjoy this complex mixture of flavours. Couscous, rice or even pasta will be the next best thing!
Today’s Lamb Shank and Rhubarb Tagine recipe can, of course, be cooked with other parts of lamb suitable for stews, if you prefer. Shoulder or leg is always going to be perfect and you can have it diced too for easier eating. I, however, am a huge fan of lamb shanks; they are not very fatty, and while tough in their natural form, are amazingly tender and falling off the bone when cooked for a long time, as we are doing here in this tagine recipe.
I add some pomegranate seeds right at the end, merely for aesthetic purposes, they are, after all, my go-to food bling, you’ve heard me say. You can omit them, use almonds, pine nuts or nothing at all, apart from the parsley. If you are using fresh pomegranate seeds, the juice that you get when squeezing out the seeds will be great added to the tagine right at the end, as a natural sweetener, further enhancing the varied flavours of the dish. But only 2-3 tablespoons, no more.
As usual, if you do not own a tagine, you can make this recipe in any casserole type dish or even a regular old saucepan. And the recipe will also work in a slow cooker. Just follow the steps as detailed here, and turn your slow cooker on!
Vegetarians, I hear you. Next Tagine Masteclass recipe will be a vegetarian one. I promise! In the meantime, if you would like to omit the lamb here, you can, and substitute with potatoes and carrots.
For more tagine recipes, be sure to visit the Tagine Masterclass page.
- 4 lamb shanks
- 2 large onions
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 3 large rhubarb stalks
- 2 apples
- 125ml (half a cup) water
- small handful flat or curly parsley
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
- half tsp mild chilli powder
- half tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- small pinch saffron, crumbled
- 1 Tbsp EV olive oil
- Make 3-4 deep slashes into the shanks.
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub it all over the lamb shanks, getting the marinade into the slashes and between the layers of the meat. Cover with a clingfilm and leave to marinate for 2 hours or so, or if you have time, overnight. If you are marinating overnight, place the lamb in the fridge but remember to bring them out about 30 minutes before you plan to cook them, to allow the meat to come to room temperature.
- Slice the onions and tomatoes into rings.
- Cut up the rhubarb into roughly 5cm (2") chunks.
- Slice the apples into about 6 slices from each apple.
- Line a tagine or casserole dish with half the onions, followed by half the tomatoes, half the rhubarb chunks and half the apple slices.
- Place the lamb shanks onto the fruit and vegetable bed.
- Slowly pour the water into the tagine, along the side of the dish, being careful not to "rinse" the lamb.
- Finish off by adding the rest of the onions, tomatoes, rhubarb and apples on and around the lamb shanks.
- Place the pot on the hob on medium high heat, remembering the diffuser if you are using a tagine itself.
- Bring everything to a simmer, then lower the heat almost right down and cook at a simmer for 3 and a half to 4 hours if using a tagine and 2 hours, if not. The meat should be falling off the bone at this stage.
- When done, take off heat and leave the tagine to rest for 10 minutes.
- Scatter the parsley and pomegranate seeds (if using) all over and serve.
Total time does not include marinating time.