"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Passover Dinner Gets a Mediterranean Makeover, By Deena Prichep, Photograph by Mike Davis, April 2011

From A Passover Dinner Gets a Mediterranean Makeover, By Deena Prichep, Photograph by Mike Davis, April 2011
Makes 8 servings
This dish is incredibly rich and flavorful, but easy to put together. That's not to say it's fast. Browning eight shanks on all sides takes time, as does sauteing about six cups of diced onions. But it's simple work easily accomplished with a nice glass of wine in hand.
· 8 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 6 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
· 3 large onions, diced
· 2 heads garlic, peeled and minced
· 2 cinnamon sticks
· 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
· 1 teaspoon ground ginger
· 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
· 1/2 teaspoon cumin
· 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
· 2 tablespoons dried thyme
· 4 cups chicken broth
· 1-1/2 cups unsulphured dried apricots
· 1 bunch cilantro, washed and leaves roughly chopped
· 1 lemon, thinly sliced for garnish

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Season the lamb shanks all over with salt and pepper. Heat half of the oil over high heat in a large Dutch oven or saute pan. Add the shanks, and sear on all sides (do this in two or three batches if necessary). Remove from the pot and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining oil and the onions. Saute the onions until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, pepper, cumin, cardamom and thyme.

If your Dutch oven isn't large enough to hold all the shanks, or if you were using a saute pan, divide the onion mixture among 2 or 3 oven-safe pots with lids that will accommodate the shanks. Add the lamb shanks, broth and apricots (dividing evenly if using more than one pot). Cover and roast for about 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

Taste and adjust seasoning. If serving right away, garnish with cilantro and lemon slices and serve over rice or couscous. Or allow the shanks to cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat, covered, until shanks are heated through.
-- Adapted from "Sephardic Israeli Cuisine" by Sheilah Kaufman (Hippocrene Books, 2002)