Lamb shanks with Moroccan spices and pomegranate molasses. I love cooking lamb shanks . With another cold spell forecast for the United Kingdom this is a great recipe for chilly weather. The secret to any recipe for lamb shanks is to cook low and slow. iThe recipe will adapt easily for use with a slow-cooker. Second ensure there are plenty of aromatic ingredients to add layers of flavour to the finished dish. This is a great dinner party dish as it can be made in advance and the flavours will improve overnight. You simply reheat the shanks in the sauce before serving. I suggest couscous or my cauliflower rice as the perfect accompaniment.
Pomegranates grow native from northern Turkey to Afghanistan; they are however cultivated around the world. Pomegranates are popular in Mediterranean and north African cookery. They are also prized for their juice which is in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Pomegranates were a symbol of both death and fertility in ancient Greece. The seeds were used by Hades, the god of the underworld, tricking Persephone into being his wife.
This myth was used to explain the change of seasons each year. Ever autumn and winter the world fell dormant and infertile when Persephone spent six months in the underworld. Pomegranate Molasses is made by reducing pomegranate juice.
Cauliflower Couscous or Rice
Cauliflower couscous or rice is suitable for paleo-diets. It is relatively low in carbohydrates, rich in nutrients, and high in fibre. This is a very healthy alternative to traditional couscous.
This recipe is not based on any particular dish such as a tangine. But uses ingredients I love to cook with. You can buy ground spices in bulk in a Moroccan souk or market place. However, you should really only buy ground spices in small amounts. Store in air-tight containers, away from direct sunlight, as they soon loose their potency.
The four most common spices you will encounter in Moroccan recipes are turmeric, ginger, black pepper and ginger. Other popular Moroccan spices include saffron, cayenne and paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise seeds, and chilli. There are also blends of spices such as Ras El Hanout.
Lamb Shanks with Moroccan Spices and Pomegranate Molasses
- Deep-sided oven-proof casserole dish
- 4 medium to large Lamb Shanks
- 1 large White Onion peeled and finely sliced
- 2 sticks Celery washed and very finely sliced
- 500 ml quality Veal or Beef Stock
- 250 ml quality Red Wine
- 250 ml Pomegranate Molasses
- 100 ml Olive Oil
- 50 gr Soft Brown Sugar
- 50 gr Plain Flour
- A splash Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 large Orange juiced and zested
- 3 large cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Ground Allspice
- ½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- A small handful of fresh Coriander washed, dried and finely chopped
- 1 Pomegranate de-seeded
- Preheat your oven to 325 F / 170 C / Gas Mark 3. Remove lamb shanks from packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Season generously.
- Heat the oil, in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, over a medium heat and brown the shanks on all sides. When browned transfer the shanks meat side down, into a deep-sided, oven-proof casserole.
- Add the onions and celery to the pan, reduce the heat, and cook until soft and golden brown. Add the flour, garlic, and ground spices and cook out for a couple of minutes stirring continuously.
- Pour in the wine, stock, red wine vinegar, and molasses continuing to stir, then carefully pour the liquid over the lamb. Add the cinnamon stick, orange peel and bay leaves. Add a little freshly boiled water if you need to cover the lamb with liquid.
- Place the casserole onto the heat and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid or a double layer of foil and place into your oven.
- Cook for one and half hours then carefully remove from the oven and check progress. Depending on the size the shanks will need between thirty minutes to an hour more cooking time. If the cooking liquid is running down top up with a little freshly boiled water.
- When the lamb is cooked remove from the sauce and keep warm and skim off any excess fat. If you want the sauce thicker you can gently simmer for a few minutes in a small pan. Check the seasoning.
- Serve the lamb with the sauce, fresh pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander.
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