This is a medieval Iraqi recipe dug up by Mrs. Nasrallah in her book Delights from the Garden of Eden. Very simple to put together: The lamb shanks are browned then braised over gentle heat in a sauce of citrus juice and a medley of vegetables and spices.
This recipe would work really well in a crockpot.
Serve with rice, any grains or just some bread. I added potatoes fried in duck fat with a touch of garlic.
I adapted the recipe (added some sugar to the sauce) to make it more palatable to my tasters (Mary, my neighbor and Alice, my daughter); there is a lebanese tradition of cooking meat in citrus sauce (called arnabiyeh) but it is a bit of an acquired taste.
This dish tastes better the next day.
INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings
- 2 pounds of lamb shanks
- 1 large onion
- 4 to 6 carrots, shredded or sliced
- 3 zucchinis, shredded or sliced
- 1/4 cup of cut-up apricots (dried)
- 1 cup of fresh orange juice
- juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar or honey or maple syrup (optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped and mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt
- Spices: 1 tsp ground anise, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. of turmeric, 1/2 tsp. of cumin, 1/2 tsp. of cardamom, 1 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/2 tsp. of pepper, dash of chili pepper or smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp. of flour
- oil, as needed
- Sprinkle the anise on the shanks and coat in flour; heat oil in a pan and brown the shanks evenly. Chop the onions and fry in the oil, adding more if needed. Add the garlic and all the spices. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes then add the carrots, zucchini, apricots and stir-fry for a few minutes.
- Juice the oranges and lemon and add the juice to the pot along with the shanks and three cups of water. Cover and simmer the shanks for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is so tender it falls off the bone. Remove the bone, cartilage and visible fat and cut the meat into small chunks. Serve the stew with rice, or any other starch.