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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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.
Serves 4.
Celadon, Napa, California