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Great news, not only is it summer, but I have finished my undergrad and have 3 months before my first year in law school commences.  I’ve got a summer job that I’m quite excited about, who would’ve thought employment would feel like such a luxury!?!  If you are thinking, “hmmm, no blog posts since November, I wonder if she still knows how to cook?” the answer is yes, I just have spent very little time cooking anything shareable.

So, although the weather is getting warmer, here in B.C., we still have the occasional wet and chilly day and this is the perfect meal for just that.  I inquired as to its origins and my mother scoured her cookbooks and the internet to no avail.  So while I am sure this faux-tagine is not a family recipe, I can only credit my mom for introducing it to me.

A Pat & A Pinch - Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shank

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shank

3 tbsp. cumin seeds

3 tbsp. coriander seeds

4 12-14 oz. lamb shanks

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ c. olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 1” piece fresh ginger, chopped

1 large yellow onion, grated

1 large pinch saffron

1 c. white wine

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 ½ tsp. ground cloves

2 whole bay leaves

1 ¼ c. dried apricots chopped

4 c. chicken stock

1 tbsp. butter

Toast the cumin seeds in a skillet for about 4 minutes, stirring a few times.  Grind the cumin seeds and coriander seeds coarsely with a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper.  Put the olive oil in a large ovenproof pan over medium-high heat.  Brown the lamb on all sides, 10-15 minutes.

Remove the lamb, pour off the fat and add the carrots and celery.  Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until just beginning to soften.  Add the fresh ginger, onion, and saffron and cook until the onion is translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine, ground cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon stick, ground ginger, ground cloves, bay leaves, and dried apricots.  Cook 5 minutes.

Place shanks back in the pan and add the stock.  Cover the pan and cook in 350F oven for about 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender and falling off the bone.  Remove the lamb shanks and cover with foil.  Set aside and keep warm.

Skim the fat off and strain liquid into a saucepan.  Discard solids.  Reduce the braising liquid to a saucy consistency by slowly simmering.  Time will vary widely, can take as long as 20 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper, add butter.

Serve with couscous and a nice seasonal green vegetable.

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