Moroccan Lamb Shanks

This is a recipe adapted from the cookbook, Staffmeals from Chanterelle, by David Waltuck, owner of Chanterelle (a restaurant in New York City I’ve never dined at, but the comments on Amazon enticed me to try the book).  A quick Google tells me that this restaurant has closed, but that the book’s author is opening a new restaurant.  This is largely not the food they serve the patrons, but staff food for the back end chefs and cooks to enjoy — mostly simple to prepare, or things that can be done in advance and enjoyed later (but before the customers come in).  This recipe probably requires a bit more attention than staff may have to spare on a regular basis towards their own food, but it is certainly worth it on special occasions.

Moroccan Lamb Shanks

(Also served with potatoes and the cooking sauce)

This is my adaptation of a lamb shank recipe.   I love long-roasted lamb shanks; when I first discovered the cut (years ago, as the cheapest supermarket cut of the lamb), I cooked it like I would a leg of lamb (which it is, just further down the bone), to medium rare.  Having discovered that slow roasting this cut, or even crock-potting it, was also entirely tasty, perhaps even better than my original cooking method, I was interested in putting an international spin on the dish.  Up pops this recipe!

Serves 3.

2 lamb shanks, trimmed of excess fat (leave some on, if you have meat from a grass-fed source — these were New Zealand grass fed lamb shanks).
1 teaspoon olive oil (at most) for the meat; 1 teaspoon for pan frying the onion
3/4 pounds baby potatoes (or larger ones chopped to baby size).  I’m partial to the “gold” varieties.  Naturally creamier.
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or in my case, smashed up with the edge of a knife)
1 half lemon, squeezed for juice
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt (sea salt or pink Himalayan)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon shredded fresh ginger
1 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup boxed low sodium vegetable broth or stock (or make your own)
3/4 cup canned tomato sauce (I used a tomato-basil pasta sauce sold in a glass jar, because the metallic taste of canned is irritating to me — and I also checked it for minimal ingredients)

The author also suggests saffron, which I don’t have, and bay leaves, which I didn’t feel like digging around to find.  He uses chicken broth over vegetable broth, but I felt that since my stock of homemade chicken broth is limited here, I’d rather not use it in something where the tomato would swamp its wonderful flavor, and so I went with vegetable.  (As he points out, being a good restaurant, they always have plenty of honest-to-goodness chicken stock or bone broth lying around.)  I also drastically cut back on the suggested amount of oil!

Oh, and the potatoes are my addition.

Preheat oven to 500 F.

Rub the meat all over with the oil, and place in a suitable pan.  (The purpose is to prevent the meat sticking to the pan.)  Roast for 40 minutes, turning the shanks occasionally so that they become nicely browned.   Afterwards, reduce the temperature to 375 F.

On the range-top, saute the onion and garlic in the oil in medium heat until translucent, around 6-8 minutes.

Add the ingredients from lemon juice through the ginger, stir well and allow to cook another couple minutes.  Then add the wine, stock and tomato sauce, turning heat up high, and allowing it to come to a boil.

Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Boil, boil, toil and trouble…

Meanwhile, lay down your bed of potatoes, lay the lamb shanks atop, pour the contents of the saucepan over the meat and potatoes.  Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an hour.

Reduce oven temperature to 325F, remove foil, and bake for another 50 minutes or hour, turning the shanks occasionally during cooking.

The meat should be near to falling off the bone.  If the sauce isn’t thick enough to your liking, heating it further on the cook top in a saucepan will help, while the meat rests.

This is a dish that may best re-heated the second day as it is easiest to de-fat any grease after a night in the fridge.  At any rate, it was plenty good with the three meals I made out of it, whether first night or last.

A very good recipe.  Next time, I’d probably use either ghee or avocado oil (I found some of the later at Costco recently!)  instead of olive oil, as the other two oils take high heat better than olive.  But since I used so little, it wasn’t really an issue here.

 

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