Braised lamb is popular throughout the Middle East; here, shanks braise in a tart lambic, and then the liquid is transformed into a luscious gravy spiked with tangy pomegranate molasses. Serve it with couscous or roasted squash.
Makes: 4 servingsIngredients:
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons dried marjoram leaves
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 lamb shanks, trimmed (about 31⁄2 pounds total)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound shallots, peeled
- 2 12-ounce bottles lambic
- 1 15-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 teaspoons water
- pomegranate seeds, for garnish
1. Combine the cumin, marjoram, salt, allspice and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle all over the lamb shanks.
2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown lamb, working in 2 batches if necessary, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots begin to brown, about 3 minutes total; transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Add the lambic and broth to the pot; bring to a simmer. Nestle the lamb shanks into the pot, submerging the meaty side in the liquid. Cover and cook, turning the lamb every 30 minutes, until fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4. Transfer the lamb to a plate and tent with foil. Pour braising liquid into a fat separator or medium bowl. If using a fat separator, pour the defatted braising liquid back into the pot. If using a bowl, skim fat from the top with a spoon, discard the fat, and pour the remaining liquid into the pot.
5. Whisk the pomegranate molasses into the braising liquid. Add shallots and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, adjusting heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are tender and the liquid is reduced by about half, about 20 minutes.
6. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Whisk enough of the cornstarch mixture into the gravy to thicken it to the desired consistency; boil 1 minute. Return the lamb to the pan and cook 5 minutes longer, turning the lamb occasionally. Serve sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.