Moroccan lamb shank with wheatberry kernels
Slow-cooked lamb shanks with wheatberry is a dish cooked the same way as Moroccan trotters recipe. In fact, you could make it a vegan dish by omitting any form of rich meat and just use chickpeas instead.
There was a old lady I used to visit when I was still living in Morocco and she would serve the wheatberry on their own, accompanied with a classic Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad.
Being from a modest background, she always apologised everytime she served it, but all what I had in mind was ” can I finish the plate without looking bad? is there enough for everyone?”.
My old friend was twice my age actually, so I used to call her “khalti” or Auntie. She used to prepare her wheatberry at night and serve it the next day, very reminiscent of Dafina or Skhina, a Moroccan-Jewish dish for Shabbat.
Khalti was again another person who can tell you stories about Muslim and Jewish Moroccans living side by side and growing together looking after each others’ kids and properties.
The result of this symbiose was a transfer of recipes and habits which transcend generations up to now.
Moroccan lamb shank with wheatberry
- Dutch oven
- 150 g wheatberry kernels washed and left to soak in cold water overnight
- 1 lamb shank
- 1 onion medium, finely chopped
- 1 tbps ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika optional
- ½ tsp chili flakes optional
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp salt to taste
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic 3 crushed and 3 with skin on
- Mix the spices and grated garlic with oil
- Mix the drained wheatberry kernels with 2/3 of the spice mix. Mix well so all kerners are coated. You will particularely need to do this if you cook them in a cheesecloth pouch (We usually do that).
- Prick the lamp shanks with the knife and thoroughly rub the meat.
- Use a heavy pot to cook on top of a stove/cooker, in a oven or over charcoal. Pressure cooker will do as you halve the time.
- Place the chopped onions in the bottom of the pot (it shouldn't stick whilst cooking), Add the lamp shank to one side and the wheatberry kernels in a pouch next to it.
- Depending on pots and methods of cooking, you may need less.
Slow-cooking in an earthenware pot
- Add enough water to reach no more than half of the lamb shank and seal the pot.
- Cook for 90-120 min on medium heat or for 2h30-3 hours in a 170 degrees oven. The time depends on the quality of the meat and its thickness.
- Remove whichever cooks first and make sure all liquid has evaporated before serving.
Cooking in a pressure cooker
- You will need less water to cook and may need to cook this dish under 1 hour depending on the type of pressure cooking and setting used.
- Serve warm
- If you choose to prepare Moroccan wheatberry kernels on the vegan side, use presoaked chickpeas (not canned).
- Depending on the origin and type of chickpeas, adjust the cooking time.
- When cooked without meat, this recipe can be served as a side dish.