Preheat oven to 140 ° C, or gas mark 3.
For the magical North African spice blend, Ras el hanout
: All spice ingredients must be lightly toasted in a hot pan before being ground in a spice blender or with mortar and pestle, then mixed together. Any extra spice mix left over can be stored in an airtight container.
Using an oven-proof pot with a heavy base and lid, heat the olive oil and brown each shank on all sides to a deep colour to impart a delicious flavour. Remove from the oil and cool slightly.
Liberally rub the spice mixture all over the cooled shanks; let them stand for 20 minutes to absorb full flavour from spice mix.
Remove some of the excess oil from the pot, place on a medium heat and add the onion and carrots. Let them cook for about 5 minutes, then add ginger and garlic. Sweat off
for 2 minutes and then, finally add the tomatoes.
Add the spiced lamb shanks to the pot with the onion, carrot and tomato mixture, add the lamb/ beef stock (enough to cover the shanks by 1 cm), add raisins, bay leaves, saffron and a little salt.
Cover with the lid and braise in the oven for 2 and a half hours until the lamb shanks are meltingly tender and the meat is ready to fall off the bone.
Season to taste and serve with creamy, smooth mash, seasonal baby vegetables for colour and texture, and garnish with rough chopped coriander or micro herbs.
FLAVOUR TIP: For a more fragrant and pungent dish, the lamb can be covered in cling film and marinated in the fridge for up to 24 hours to allow the spices to penetrate the meat.Reprinted with permission of Leanne Galloway, Chopped SA episode 1 winner.