Serve this easy, fullflavored stew on couscous studded with lots of chopped fresh coriander.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
4 lamb shanks
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) dried basil
2 tsp (10 mL) paprika
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander
1 cup (250 mL) dry red wine
2½ cups (625 mL) chicken stock
½ cup (125 mL) chopped drained canned tomatoes
1 pkg (8 oz/250 g) dried figs
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) packed brown sugar
2 onions, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 white summer turnips, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1. Lightly sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper to taste; coat all over with flour. In large Dutch oven, heat half of the oil; brown shanks, in batches and adding more oil when needed. Remove to plate.
2. Stir in any remaining flour, garlic, basil, paprika, thyme, cumin and coriander; cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring. Stir in wine; bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Stir in 1½ cups (375 mL) of the stock and tomatoes. Return shanks and any juices. With scissors, cut stems from figs; quarter figs and add to stew. Bring to boil; cover and bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 2 hours or until lamb is very tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, in deep skillet or shallow stovetop casserole, melt butter and sugar over medium heat; stir in onions, carrots, parsnips and turnips until coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add remaining stock and bring to boil. Bake, uncovered and stirring occasionally, in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir into cooked shanks. (Stew can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days; reheat slowly on stovetop, stirring often, or in 350°F/180°C oven, covered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly.)
Couscous, a type of North African granular pasta, is available in a precooked form in most grocery stores. Unless the box instructions tell you otherwise, for 4 servings, bring 1½ cups (375 mL) water to a boil and stir in 1 cup (250 mL) couscous. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in chopped fresh coriander or parsley. Couscous, enlivened with any herb, goes well with most stews.