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Couscous with braised lamb shanks


20 minutes


About 2 3/4 hours



Couscous with braised lamb shanks
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30 ml (2 tbsp.) olive oil
4 small lamb shanks (about 325 g each)
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
15 ml (1 tbsp.) flour
15 ml (1 tbsp.) tomato paste
5 ml (1 tsp.) ground coriander
5 ml (1 tsp.) ground ginger
5 ml (1 tsp.) ground cumin
2 ml (1/2 tsp.) turmeric
1 pinch of saffron
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 pinches of hot pepper
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 orange (juice + 3 thin strips of zest)
1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
Salt and ground black pepper


15 ml (1 tbsp.) butter
10 dates, pitted and cut in half
1 ml (1/4 tsp.) cumin seeds
45 ml (3 tbsp.) pine nuts, toasted
80 ml (1/3 cup) fresh coriander, chopped


1 L (4 cups) medium wheat semolina, cooked
45 ml (3 tbsp.) butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Braised lamb shanks

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the shanks.
  2. Remove them from the saucepan and set aside.
  3. In the same saucepan, add the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the flour and tomato paste. Stir well. 
  5. Add the spices, tomatoes and orange zest (make sure to remove all the white from the zest as it could be bitter).
  6. Add  the chicken stock and reserved shanks. They should be covered with stock; if not, add more water. 
  7. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours or until the meat shreds with a fork.
  8. Adjust the seasoning and reduce the sauce if needed.

Date garnish

  1. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the dates with cumin for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the pine nuts.
  3. Set aside and sprinkle with coriander.


  1. Heat the couscous with butter and season well.
  2. Serve couscous and lamb shanks garnished with dates on separate platters placed in the middle of the table.

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