Thursday, March 21, 2019

On the MENU this Week. Moroccan Lamb Shanks

A substantial and impressive dinner dish, possibly great for serving at Easter or Passover. This is a new way of cooking cous cous for Lynne and she found it very successful. We found Ras al Hanout in Pick n Pay, but we have given you a recipe to make enough for the dish from spices in your cupboard
Lynne has also found an almost foolproof way of cooking baby aubergines without frying them. After salting them and drying them, cook them in a dish in the microwave for about 3 to 4 minutes and then add to your dish, they will then not be tough and under-cooked. Larger aubergines may take take a little longer
4 Tablespoons canola oil - 4 lamb shanks - Salt and freshly ground black pepper - 1 large onion, finely chopped - 2 carrots, finely chopped - 2 large garlic cloves, minced – 2.5 teaspoons of Ras al Hanout spice mix - 1 tablespoon tomato paste - 1 teaspoon Harissa or other chilli paste - 1 cup dry red wine - A tin of chopped tomatoes - 2 cups chicken stock – a tin of chickpeas - 10 whole de-pipped dates – five baby aubergines, quartered – 1 red pepper, seeds removed and sliced
For the cous cous
1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped - 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint - 2 tablespoons chopped coriander or parsley - 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil - 1 half an onion, finely chopped - 2 cups instant couscous - 1 cup of chicken stock - 1 cup water - 1/4 cup dried sultanas – 6 Turkish dried apricots, quartered
Preheat the oven to 170°. In a large enamel cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Add them to the casserole, 2 at a time, and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole.  Add the onion and fry till it is soft then add the carrots and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the Ras al Hanout and cook, stirring until lightly toasted, about 1 minute.  Add the tomato paste and Harissa and cook over moderate heat, stirring , about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and boil until reduced to a thick syrup, about 4 minutes
Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of the chicken stock to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Nestle the lamb shanks in the liquid. Cover tightly and braise in the oven for about an hour, basting occasionally. Taste the sauce and add seasoning if needed. Now stir in the chickpeas and bake for another hour, then add the dates , aubergines and peppers and cook until the meat is almost falling off the bone. If the sauce is dry at any point, add a little water. Taste and adjust seasoning. Tomatoes can be very acidic, add a little sugar if you feel the sauce needs it
Put the almonds in small pan in an even layer, with a ½ teaspoon of oil and carefully toast until golden, stirring to prevent them burning. Be careful not to break up the almonds
Cous Cous
Mix the chopped herbs and almonds and season lightly with salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the couscous and cook until coated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of chicken stock, the water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the sultanas and apricots. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in the herb-almond mixture
You can serve the lamb on top of the cous cous in an attractive tagine dish or serve separately. With large shanks, this dish will serve more than 4 people
Ras al Hanout
1 teaspoon ground cumin - 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander - 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon - 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice - 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

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