Moroccan Braised Lamb Shoulder

Moroccan Braised Lamb Shoulder

    (serves 4)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • 1/2 head garlic, smashed
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon harissa (or garlic-chili paste)
  • one 2 1/2 lb lamb shoulder with bone, excess fat trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 head garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled, cored and diced
  • 3 cups chicken stock or veal stock


  1. Combine the star anise, coriander, saffron, and cumin in a small bowl. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir in the olive oil and harissa. Press the mixture on the lamb shoulder. Place the lamb in a glass dish, cover with plastic film, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400’F.
  3. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator. Pick off and reserve the thyme and bay leaf.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a braising pan over medium high heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper to taste. Add the lamb to the hot pan and sear until nicely browned on all sides. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside.
  5. Pour the excess fat from the pan. Over medium high heat add the carrot, onion and garlic along with the reserved thyme and bay leaf. Saute until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the shoulder to the braising pan, cover and place in preheated oven. After 30 minutes reduce heat to 350’F and braise for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 325’F and braise for another hour, basting every 20 minute. The meat is ready when very tender but not falling off the bone.
  7. At this point the shoulder can be served or refrigerated for up to two days and reheated in a 450’F oven for 20 minutes basting regularly with the braising liquid until a beautiful glaze has formed.
  8. Cut into pieces, adjust seasoning and serve with egg noodles, couscous or rice
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  • kinni

    That sounds really excellent. I recently found a source for local, pastured lamb. The next round’ll be ready in May, this recipe would be good for the occasion.

  • Emiline

    I love Moroccan style food. This sounds great.
    I want some harissa!

    That sounds like a terrible day. I’m sorry. :(
    I’m going to work on the header now. Promise.

  • Mike of Mike’s Table

    Sounds like a crazy day but also sounds like a success! I’m all for Moroccan food and I’ve been coveting some beautiful cuts of lamb as of late, so it looks I’ve got something new to try. This looks delicious!

  • Elle

    That sounds fabulous! Sorry your kitchen was invaded, though. You’re right–sometimes, you’ve just got to go with WTF for peace of mind. Or lately, “What the *french*, toast!” hehe

    muac! 😉

  • cakewardrobe

    Is this for Muiccia Prada? or Donatella.. hehe.

  • Heather

    I thought you were exaggerating when you said you cook for the rich and famous.

    Isn’t “WTF” the best self-soother? It’s like the grown-up version of rocking yourself.

  • cakewardrobe

    I’m in for a leftover swap! I’m up for being a leftover client any time!

  • Katy

    that sounds really good!!! and good for you for producing something delicious in the middle of all that chaos! :-)

  • Cynthia

    Ah, you get the chaos of a restaurant kitchen right in your private workspace. I have your recipe bookmarked.

  • Kevin

    That is a tasty combination of flavours! I am planning on trying a Moroccan lamb dish over the Easter weekend.

  • AzAzura

    I am a regular at a Morrocan restaurant in my revious neighbourhood, i love em ‘love’Looorve em> Lamb tagine and this lamb is something I will try when I spot a new butcher!

  • jesse

    Agh, I’m a total kitchen Nazi too, even though in all my years I have never made anything as wonderful as that lamb of yours.

  • Cindy. Lo.

    How much I wish I can be one of the guest and enjoy your food there,
    Star Anise and lamb sounds so good!

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    This is one superb recipe. Now for the really important question: What did you do to make yourself look “pretty”? :)

  • Big Boys Oven

    oh this must be awesome! must be excellent! u did so well!

  • glamah16

    Lovin that star anise in the spice blend. Was it Donettela? :-) what a evening. Kills me how they want simple normal experinces and yet its not simple or normal!

  • Ann

    Your recipe looks fabulous. Funny how people never think of how inconvenient being “unpretentious” might be for the staff, eh?

  • White On Rice Couple

    It seems like your last minute “Dinner Impossible” event turned out great (I think that’s the name of the show, only seen it once).
    Now you’ve spoiled your boss and she’s gonna do this to you more often!

  • Function of Time

    Oh i know about this feeling. the feeling that I just don’t care. it’s liberating really. the issues don’t seems to matter nor do they phase you in anyway. and when it comes down to it, it becomes rather comical in the end.

  • MrsDocChuck

    I am hopeful that my husband will be released in time for Easter because this will be on the menu for certain.


  • farida

    Zenchef, thank you for stopping by my blog yesterday! It traced me back to yours which I found pretty fun and interesting:) I am going to subscribe to you to be updated on your creations! I love lamb and braised lamb shoulder looks just yummy! Will try your recipe next time I buy lamb. Thank you!