Pomegranate-Merlot Braised Lamb Shanks
Pomegranate juice lends a sweet-tart flavor to this slow-cooked lamb dish, while cinnamon, cumin and allspice add an undertone of spicy warmth. Serve over couscous to soak up the delicious sauce.
- 4 1/2 lb. (2.25 kg) lamb shanks
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 Tbs. minced garlic
- 1 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) Merlot
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) pomegranate juice
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) chicken broth
- 6 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) pomegranate seeds
- Cooked couscous for serving
Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In the stovetop-safe insert of a slow cooker over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the lamb on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.
Warm 1 Tbs. oil in the insert. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, allspice and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the wine and pomegranate juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the honey, broth, salt, pepper and lamb.
Transfer the insert to the slow-cooker base. Cover and cook on high according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 3 hours. Add the carrots and cook until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour more.
Transfer the lamb and carrots to a large platter. Skim the excess fat off the sauce. Set the insert over high heat and boil until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Pour the sauce over the lamb and sprinkle with the parsley and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately with couscous. Serves 6.