Rose Petal Lamb Shanks

Recently I decided I wanted to make my own ‘house blend’ of a  Morroccan spice called ras el hanout (which translates as ‘head of the shop’ and each spice vendor has their own version) after watching  Jamie Does .. Marrakesh. I looked at lots of different blends on the web and from them came up up with my own spice combination. A trip to the Marble Arch end of the Edgware Road saw me right for all the the things I needed, one of them being rose petals (dried). The problem was – well, not really a problem – is that they come in fairly big bags, more than you need to make a generous jar of ras el hanout. Therefore I had lots left over and I’ve been looking for a use for them.

Using them in a slow cooked lamb dish came to mind because I use lavender in this way but I wanted something more, too. I wanted something slightly spicy, even though I intended serving the lamb shanks on a roast dinner. In the end I borrowed from various cuisines – Carribbean, Indian, French and Morrocan – to make the final dish. The long slow cooking married all those flavours to produce a deep, rich, very slightly perfumed result. Lamb can take on strong flavours and still hold it’s own. The barberries add a slightly sharp counterpoint and the brown sugar rounds out the perfume, wine and spices.


2  lamb shanks

2 tbsp dried rose petals

2 tbsp dried barberries

1 tbsp pimento/allspice

1/2 tsp cardamom seeds

1 tsp caraway seeds

1/2 bottle red wine

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp sea salt

3 shallots

4 or 5 fat cloves garlic

Oil for frying


Warm all the spices in a dry frying pan until they start to give off a fragrant aroma and then grind them in a pestle and mortar. Roll the lamb shanks in the ground spices and brown them off  in a little oil in a heavy based frying pan. Brown the shallots and garlic in the same pan – just cut them roughly, they won’t be in the final dish; you’re just using them for their flavour. Place the lamb shanks in a slow cooker or oven proof dish. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and add the sugar and salt to dissolve it. Pour the wine plus enough boiled water to cover over the lamb shanks. Add the rose petals and barberries and cook on the lowest heat for about six hours.

Carefully lift the lamb shanks out and transfer to a plate and keep warm. Drain the flavourings out of the cooking liquor and reduce to a consistency you like. You can thicken it if you wish but I prefer not to. Serve with roast potatoes, etc or maybe creamy mash and dark greens.

Serves two.


Filed under Recipes

2 responses to “Rose Petal Lamb Shanks

  1. i’ve only recently had the luck to try food scented with rose petals – and it really does lend a sonderful aroma to meats and salads

  2. Do you have roses on Hania, Maria? x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s