Lake Isle Press

Slow-Cooked Lamb Fonio Tabouleh

Inspired by North African tabouleh, this is a delicious combination full of flavors and colors. The lamb is so tender when shredded that it seems to melt into the fonio. The salad is bright and fresh with cucumber and herbs, and is also a great way to use up leftover lamb dibi.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Fonio Tabouleh


  • 2 lamb shanks (about 1¼ pounds each)
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled, crushed with the side of a knife
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 quarts water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vinaigrette
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Tabouleh
  • 2 cups cooked fonio (page 150) or quinoa
  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 Kirby cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup microgreens or baby arugula
  • ½ cup small green olives, pitted (optional)


Preheat the oven to 225°F.

To prepare the lamb: In a large oven-safe pot, such as a Dutch oven, combine the lamb shanks, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 5 hours, or until the lamb is very tender.

Remove from the oven and let the lamb cool in the liquid until it is easy to handle.

Remove the lamb from the cooking liquid and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid into a small pot and discard the solids. Over high heat, reduce the liquid by half. Set aside to cool and skim and discard the fat that rises to the top.

While the cooking liquid is reducing, shred the lamb and discard the bones, fat, and membranes. Season the lamb with salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the reduced cooking liquid, the lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to dissolve the salt. Slowly pour in the oil, whisking constantly to emulsify.

To prepare the tabouleh: Place the fonio in a large bowl and add the shredded lamb, parsley, mint, cucumber, tomatoes, and microgreens. Toss well and generously fold in the vinaigrette to taste. (You may have some left over.) Top with the olives (if using). Serve immediately.

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