Thanksgiving and the holiday season is here….a lot of us think about food ( I do), what to make that feeds the soul and brings a deep smile to friends and family. A lamb shank where the meat falls off the bone….just right with apricots and saffron. This has a Mediterranean flair and is a melt in your mouth recipe and guarantees second helpings ( make more:) )
The key is good grass fed organic shanks. Ask the butcher and he will prepare them for you. I went to whole foods and got four cleaned meaty shanks.
Use good dried apricots – just soak then in warm water while you prepare the shanks. The saffron is from Kashmir…my love affair with saffron is perpetual. If you want to get the “real thing” from the valley check out this online store as they will deliver worldwide Kashmir Box. Soak a few strands in warm water while you are cooking.
Harissa is such an incredible hot chili pepper paste. It adds just the right amount of heat to this dish. I found mine in a tube at the local store.
A heavy bottomed pan is needed. You could use a slow cooker for this dish as well.
Lamb Shanks with Harissa, Saffron and Apricots
a melt in your mouth lamb shank with apricots and saffron
- 4 grass fed lamb shanks
- 2 tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 head of garlic – minced
- 2 tablespoon spoon Harissa
- A pinch of saffron strands
- Juice of 2 limes, about 4 tablespoons
- Zest of 1 fresh lime
- Zest of 1 orange
- 5-6 dried apricots – halved and soaked in water for 2o mins
- A coupe of thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 6 cups hot broth or water
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint for garnish
- Himalayan pink salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Soak the saffron with the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of warm water for about 10 mins
- Take the clean and dry shanks and sprinkle salt and pepper. Rub it into the meat
- Brown the shanks in oil until they are evenly browed on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, use the remaining oil from the shanks and sauté one chopped onion and 1 head of crushed garlic for about 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add 1 stick of cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom and 2 tablespoons of harissa. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes
- Add lime zest, orange zest, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Stir in saffron mixture. Lay in the lamb shanks and add the broth. Season with black pepper and salt. Careful not to over salt at this point, you can adjust once the broth has reduced.
- Once the broth is boiling, transfer pot to oven and bake for about 2 hours, covered, until meat is beginning to fall from the bone.
- Adjust salt and pepper seasoning
- In the last half hour of cooking add the apricots. At this point you can remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick from the liquid.
- Serve Shanks on a platter and pour the juice over it. Top with chopped mint and cilantro.
- Serve with a crusty bread or rice.