Rather than follow her recipe exactly, I chose my own combination of flavors, virtually heading to Morocco. In went cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and brown sugar. The spices blended together with the red wine and bathed the lamb shanks gently and slowly while they braised in the oven for three solid hours.
Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Potatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 lamb shanks
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 potatoes, cubed
2 cups red wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
2. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper and sear in hot oil on all sides until evenly browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove lamb from the pot.
3. Add onion, garlic, and spices to the pot. Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and potatoes; cook for another 5-7 minutes.
4. Return lamb shanks to the pot and nestle inside the vegetables. Cover with wine and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
5. Cover the pot tightly and transfer to the oven. Bake for three hours.
6. Skim off excess fat. Serve the shanks with the vegetables. I threw in a handful of peas at the end for a touch of color and freshness.
Speaking from experience, the shanks keep in the refrigerator for solid 3 days without losing any flavor. Reheat slowly on top of the stove or in the oven. If you desire a thicker sauce, feel free to puree some of the vegetables or thicken with a cornstarch slurry. You may also simmer the sauce, uncovered, to thicken it naturally.
This is definitely a recipe I will make again and again! Don't fret if you don't like lamb or don't have it on hand. The recipe will turn out just as fantastic with chicken or beef.
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