The complex fragrances of the spices, quince and fennel with the richness of the lamb are perfect with the Amber wine as it provides mouthfeel, acidity and its own middle eastern aromas.
By Lucie Lawrence
4 quality lamb shanks, French trimmed
1 fresh red chilli
1 clove of garlic peeled and finely sliced
1 red onion peeled and cut into 8 pieces
1 quince peeled, cored and cut into 8 pieces
2 carrots peeled and chopped in 4cm pieces
1 bulb of fennel cut into quarters
2 fresh bay leaves
1 pinch of saffron
2 ripe tomatoes
1 preserved lemon
1 litre organic chicken stock
200 g couscous
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 handful of black olives (stone in)
½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ a lemon
½ an orange
extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons rosewater
50 g harissa
4 heaped tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt
2 cardamon pods
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 tiny pinch of cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/320ºF/gas 3.
For the ras el hanout, bash all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar to form a powder.
Massage the ras el hanout into the lamb shanks, then place in a large ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat with a splash of olive oil. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned all over, turning halfway. Meanwhile, prick and add the chilli to the pan and cook until slightly scalded all over, then remove to a plate with the lamb.
Wipe the pan clean then place on a medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil, the pricked chilli and the bay leaves. Put the garlic and vegetables into the pan, then cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until softened.
Add the saffron to a cup with a splash of boiling water, then leave for a minute. Return the shanks to the softened vegetables. Quarter and add the tomatoes along with the saffron mixture, whole preserved lemon and stock. Bring to the boil.
Cut out a circle of greaseproof paper to the size of the pan, scrunch it up under cold running water, then lay it out flat and place in the pan. Cover with a lid and place in the hot oven for 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes, or until the shanks are soft, delicious and the sauce has reduced.
Use a spoon to skim away any excess fat from the surface. Carefully remove the shanks to a plate, then place the pan over a medium-high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.
Place the couscous and half the mint sprigs in a bowl, cover with boiling water, pop a plate on top and leave to soak and infuse.
To make the salad, destone and roughly tear the olives. Pick the parsley and remaining mint leaves, then place everything in a bowl, squeeze over the lemon and orange juice, and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Toss together and set aside.
Combine the rosewater and harissa, then swirl it through the yoghurt. Return the lamb shanks to the sauce. Fluff up the couscous, discarding the mint, then divide between your plates. Top with the tagine, scatter over the herb and olive salad, then serve with a dollop of the harissa yoghurt.
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