I love cooking with lamb shanks because the longer you leave them, the better they taste. Three hours may seem a long time, but trust me, once you see the way the meat falls off the bone, you’ll understand. Marinate the lamb in the spice mix overnight if you can as it will really improve the flavor. Serve with couscous or mashed potatoes.
First prepare the marinade. Mix together the chiles (use only one of each if you don’t like hot dishes), smoked paprika, oregano, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Rub the mixture into the lamb so that it is well flavored. You can cook the lamb right away, but if you have time, cover and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour, or even overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Heat a large casserole dish on the stovetop and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the lamb in it for about 6 minutes until colored on all sides, then add the chiles and cinnamon from the marinade.
Add the carrots, onion, and bay leaves to the casserole and brown for a minute or two. Lift the lamb so that it is resting on top of the onions and carrots. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits from the bottom, then bring to a boil and cook for 7–8 minutes to reduce the liquid by half. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then transfer, uncovered, to the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours until the meat is really tender and the sauce is reduced. (If the tops of the shanks look like they might be drying out, just baste and occasionally turn them.)
Remove the cooked meat from the oven and serve garnished with torn mint leaves and the cooking juices spooned on top.