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Braised Lamb Shanks with Curried Lentils December 10, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Braising, Entree, Lamb, Recipe.
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3-4 lamb shanks (about 1 lb. each)
1 red onion
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 canned whole tomatoes
5 cups chicken stock
1-1/4 cups lentils (about 1/2 lb.)
1-1/2 tbsp. chopped thyme
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 tbsp. curry powder
2 tbsp. olive oil
fresh ground pepper
salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Dust lamb shanks with salt and pepper.  Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven.  Brown the lamb thoroughly, about 6-8 minutes per side.  Cook in two batches to prevent crowding, if necessary.  Remove lamb and set aside.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to Dutch oven and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and curry powder and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add 1 tbsp. of thyme and 1 bay leaf.  Stir in tomatoes and 2 cups of stock.  Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen browned bits.  Boil for 5 minutes.

Return lamb shanks to pot.  Return liquid to a simmer.  Cover pot with parchment paper and close the lid as tightly as possible.  Cook lamb in the oven for one hour.  Turn lamb and cook for another hour.

While lamb is braising, parboil the lentils.  Bring 3 cups stock and 3 cups water to a boil.  Add lentils, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the remaining thyme and bay leaf.  Return to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Drain lentils and spread them evenly over a large plate, allowing them to cool to room temperature.

After lamb has braised for 2 hours, remove lamb shanks and transfer them to a plate.  Stir lentils into the braising liquid, mix well, and return lamb shanks to the pot.  Cover Dutch oven again with parchment paper and return to the oven to cook for another 30 to 45 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Remove dish from the oven.  Transfer lamb to a holding plate and cover with foil.  Taste lentils for salt and pepper.  Arrange a bed of lentils in a serving plate and nestle the lamb shanks into the lentils.  Sprinkle parsley over the dish and serve.

Time to Prepare: 3 hours

Level of Difficulty: 4/10

Serves: 3-4 people

Tunisian Lamb Stew with Quince November 10, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in African, Braising, Entree, Lamb, Recipe.
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2 lbs. lamb shoulder, cubed
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp. caraway seeds
1/2 tbsp. cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
6 oz. tomato paste (1 small can)
1 cinnamon stick
Small pinch of saffron
4 cups chicken stock
2 quinces
1 tbsp. honey

Time to Prepare: 3 hours + Overnight marinating.

Difficulty: 4/10

Serves: 4+

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1. Toast coriander, caraway, and cumin in a small dry pan until they begin to release their aromas. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.  Crush seeds with mortar and pestle.  Tear chiles into coin-sized pieces.  Combine seeds with garlic, chiles, paprika, and cayenne.  Season lamb with spice mix and 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Bring lamb to room temperature.  Using medium-high heat on the stovetop, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a medium dutch oven.  Brown the lamb cubes in batches until evenly browned, about 10 minutes per batch.  Set aside.

3. Cook onions with 1 tbsp. tomato paste in dutch oven until soft and golden.  Add a splash of chicken stock and deglaze the pot.  Add the remaining chicken stock and tomato paste to the pot, mix well, and bring to a gentle boil.  Add the cinnamon stick and saffron.  Add lamb, reduce to a low simmer, cover.  Cook for 90 minutes.  Check pot every 30 minutes, making sure that the liquid is not cooking off too quickly.  (Add water 1/2 cup at a time to replenish, as necessary.)

4. Wash quinces under cold water.  Slice into eighths and remove the cores.  Stir honey into simmering lamb stew.  Submerge quinces in stew liquid, cover, and cook for another hour.

5. Remove from heat.  Serve over cous cous.

This recipe is adapted from http://www.chow.com/recipes/11148.  Proportions and ingredients were adjusted to suit my whimsy.