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Algerian Lamb Shanks with Cardamom and Orange

Algerian Lamb Shanks with Cardamom and Orange
This braised lamb stew is wonderful served over a bed of steamed couscous. The couscous can be served plain or tossed with raisins, almonds and spices. Either way, it will absorb the flavorful broth from the stew.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 105 minutes
Servings: 4 Serves 4.


  • 4 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
  • Salt, to taste, plus 1 Tbs. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
     for serving
  • 1 lb. yellow onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cardamom seeds, skins removed
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cans (10 oz. each) diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and coarsely diced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and
     coarsely diced


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Generously season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof deep sauté pan or Dutch oven over high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil until nearly smoking. Working in batches, brown the shanks, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.

Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté, stirring, until the onions are tender and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ginger, cardamom, saffron, chili flakes, cloves, caraway, fennel seeds, cinnamon, curry, the 1 Tbs. salt, almonds and raisins. Sauté, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, wine, orange zest and orange juice and stir to mix well. Submerge the shanks in the liquid and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the meat nearly falls off the bone, about 2 hours.

Stir the carrots and fennel bulb into the stew, cover and bake until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more. Drizzle each serving with olive oil.
Celadon, Napa, California