The Tagine is the prince of dishes from North Africa; redolent with spices, it’s showy, aromatic and delicious with Aussie lamb shanks. Best of all, you can get a lot done (or kickup your heels) during the long, slow cook in the oven.
4-6 Australian grassfed lamb shanks, frenched and trimmed
Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
3 cups lamb stock
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup golden raisins
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
2-3 tbsp Ras el Hanout
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
15oz can peeled and chopped (or diced) tomatoes, drained
1 lb butternut squash,
½"-3/4" cubes1tbsp honey
1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Mint, to garnish
Orange zest couscous
2 cups lamb stock (or chicken stock)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups couscous
2 tbsp orange zest
Kosher salt, to taste
Either the night before or 4 hours before cooking, season lamb liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper, and refrigerate.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring lamb stock to a boil, remove from heat, add apricots and raisins. Set aside to cool and steep.
Remove lamb from refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking to bring to room temperature. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm olive oil and work lamb shanks in batches to brown on all sides. Remove lamb from heat and set aside to rest under a tin foil tent.
In same Dutch oven, add onion and sauté until just golden and fragrant. Add garlic, seasonings, paste and chopped tomatoes, squash, honey, cilantro, stock and steeped fruits,along withbrowned lamb shanks. Fold all ingredients together until well-combined. Seal with tin foil, then top with lid before placing inside a 350°-400°F oven for 2-2½ hours, or until the lamb is cooked through and fall-from-the-bone tender.
Meanwhile, prepare couscous and over a separate burner, warm 2 tbsp butter in a sauté pan with cinnamon stick. Toss chopped hazelnuts into butter, season to taste with salt and sauté until golden. Set aside to cool.
Over high heat, bring stock, butter and oil to a boil in a heavy bottom pot. Stir in couscous, cover tightly with a lid and remove from heat. Fold in orange zest and season to taste. Fluff with a fork and serve warm.
To plate, spoon orange-zested couscous onto plate. Top with lamb shank, then spoon aromatics and sauce over the plated shank. Garnish with sautéed hazelnuts and leaves of mint. Serve.