This is a delicious combination of shredded spicy lamb, herbs, onions, pomegranate seeds and giant couscous. Some of the dish’s distinctive flavour comes from ras-el-hanout, a traditional North African spice mix available from ethnic stores or good supermarkets.
Pomegranate seeds are another traditional North African flavouring. The easiest way to remove them is to cut the fruit in half and, holding it over a bowl, hit the skin with a spoon, which should dislodge the seeds into the bowl.
For the spice mix
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground coriander
For the vinaigrette
- 50g Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Ras-el-hanout
- 20g Sherry vinegar
- 5g Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Spice mix (above)
For the lamb
- 1.5kg Lamb stock (For details, see Heston Blumenthal at Home page 41)
- 2 Lamb shanks
- 2 Sprigs of rosemary
- Olive oil
- 200g Giant couscous
- 1 Onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Spice mix (above)
- 1/2 tablespoon Ras-el-hanout
To finish and serve
- 5g Parsley leaves
- 5 Mint leaves
- 5 Large basil leaves
- 1 Pomegranate, de-seeded
For the spice mix, simply mix the ground spices together thoroughly, and pass through a fine sieve.
For the vinaigrette, heat 10g of the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the ras-el-hanout. Heat gently for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining olive oil. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon of the spice mix together in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the ras-el-hanout oil while whisking.
To cook the lamb, pre-heat the oven to 100°C (210°F).
Pour 1kg of the lamb stock into a casserole and place over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and add the shanks. Cover and cook in the oven for 4-5 hours.
Remove the pan and allow the shanks to cool in the liquid. When cool, shred the meat and set aside.
Reduce the braising liquid to 200g in a saucepan over a high heat. Remove the stock from the heat and add the sprigs of rosemary; allow to infuse for 10 minutes before straining and discarding the herbs.
Coat the bottom of a saucepan with a thin layer of olive oil and place over a medium heat. Add the couscous and sauté in the oil, stirring constantly, until the grains are golden. Add the remaining 500g of lamb stock to cover the couscous and bring to the boil. Cook for 6-7 minutes or until the couscous is cooked, then drain.
In the meantime, heat a thin layer of olive oil in a small frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the spice mix and a little salt.
Mix the shredded lamb with the reduced stock, then sprinkle the meat with the ras-el-hanout and the remaining teaspoon of spice mix. Season with salt to taste.
When ready to serve, roughly chop the herbs and mix them with the drained couscous, meat mixture, half the pomegranate seeds and the sautéed onions, and season to taste. Stir through most of the vinaigrette and pile the couscous into a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette, and sprinkle with the remaining pomegranate seeds.