Recipe: Moroccan Braised Lamb Steaks

Cooking spicy foods doesn't have to be complicated, therefore they don't have to be daunting. In the office we're agreed that this Moroccan braised lamb shank dish is perfect for a Saturday as once you've got on top of prep work you can really sit back and enjoy a perfect example of why Aussie wines have become so popular over here. The Leasingham Magnus Shiraz 2005 truly is fabulous value for money and a great accompaniment to this dish! - Wine Spectator agree, "Vivid in flavour and bright in structure, this is zingy with pineapple, floral and citrus flavours persisting nicely on the juicy finish. Drink now through 2016."
Ingredients (serves 4):

4 lamb shanks, 350g each
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp each paprika, cumin and coriander
1 tsp ginger
1 litre of either beef or lamb stock
500 ml water
60g tomato paste
1 tbsp harissa paste
1 preserved lemon, cut into wide strips
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch saffron
20 pitted prunes
10 pitted dates
50g fresh coriander (chopped)
50g fresh mint (chopped)


1. In a large heavy pan set over medium-high heat, sear the lamb shanks in olive oil until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, coriander and ginger and continue cooking for about a minute or until fragrant. Stir in stock, water, tomato paste, harissa, preserved lemon, cinnamon stick and saffron, as well as the browned lamb shanks. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low; simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. After half an hour, uncover the pot and turn over the lamb shanks. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 90 minutes or until lamb shanks are tender.
4. Remove the shanks from the dish, cover and set aside to keep warm. Add prunes and dates to the mixture in the pot and increase heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is reduced and thickened.
5. In a separate pan simmer some water then add the couscous (the water should cover the couscous), cover the pan with a lid and cook on a low simmer for 5 minutes until the couscous is fluffy.
5. Serve shanks and sauce on a bed of couscous, topped with a generous scattering of chopped coriander and mint.

Bon Appétit


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