CtBF lamb shank tagine

This is another braise, so popular in the French cookbooks we have used. Taking a tough cut of meat, adding wonderful flavors, and cooking it a long time – which is great because there is so little active time, and it mostly takes care of itself.

This time, lamb shanks. With a spice rub that needs to marinate for 8-24 hours. They then get browned before adding the aromatics to the mix. A nice pinch of saffron is added next.

Some broth, the lamb shanks added back, and then finally covered, the tagine is ready for the oven.

Over the course of several hours, shanks are turned, dried apricots and raisins are added.

I used my new covered pan, and I imagine it wasn’t a great seal. The sauce really reduced quite a bit. For my 2 shanks, I used the full amount of the other ingredients.

I served this with a couscous mix. It looked pretty!

It was not for us. Smelled good, but while we love lamb, have no bias against sweet and savory combinations, it just wasn’t going to happen. I actually had a pretty thorough fail for the day! I made an apricot tart with garden apricots that I’d frozen. A shocking waste! But. I tried.

As much as we enjoy lamb, I’d not made shanks before. I imagine next time I’d tend toward the white bean, garlic, white wine spectrum. But who knows. I see that others have loved this, so I imagine it’s a personal preference thing. It’s how we learn!!

ffwd – lamb and dried apricot tagine

This dish is a wonderful departure from other braises that are so perfect for this time of year. Not only is it lamb vs. beef, but it includes a combination of warming spices and dried apricots for a bit of sweetness that contributes to a wonderful combination of flavors that is so satisfying. There is a mixture of spices including coriander, saffron, cinnamon, ginger, red pepper flakes and cumin along with salt and pepper. Of course garlic and onions and the lamb and dried apricots. Rounding the recipe out, some canned diced tomatoes and a bit of chicken broth.100_3751

I used slices from a leg of lamb because that was what was most convenient. Perhaps even a bit too lean, but that eliminates steps down the road. The lamb gets cut into chunks and browned in a bit of olive oil – it takes a few shifts in the pan to brown all of the meat without crowding. Once that’s complete, the onions and garlic are added for their turn in the pan, stirring up all of the browned bits on the bottom.

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Next, the tomatoes get added along with some broth, and that gets to simmer for a bit along with the spices.

100_3756100_3757And then, the lamb and apricots are added on top, the whole thing covered tightly and then popped into a 325 degree oven for a nice long simmer.

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After about an hour or so (mine was longer – I was working and got sidetracked!), the dish comes out, gets a good stir and is ready to serve with your choice of something to take advantage of the lovely sauce. I chose rice. Toppings are toasted almonds and a bit of cilantro (no, I didn’t get that far, but there’s another meal where I can try that out).

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This is such an aromatic, yummy, warming dish. The flavor combination is different, but so delicious, and not a stretch at all. It was terrific with the rice, though I’m sure if your preference was some other grain, seed or starch, it would be nice too. This was a fun dish to make. You can find out what other people thought of the recipe by checking the French Fridays with Dorie site.

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