Lamb shanks are one of the most ideal cuts of the lamb:
Lean, tender, low maintenance, and best of all, very well priced! And I love their rustic, unpretentious look making your homemade dish look….homemade. The bones in the lamb shanks contribute a succulent gelatinous texture. In the event you are serving this dish at a buffet, and would rather use boned meat, no problem using boned lamb. I am making this dish the Tajine way: All in one pot, adding the ingredients to the pot according to their cooking time. See what I mean, when I say low maintenance? And the shidduch of flavors just can’t be beat: Lamb, artichokes, mushrooms! Yum! All these Sephardi stove-top preparations are delightful: Just get yourself a wide stainless steel heavy pot, and you are all set!
I am adding the rosemary not because it is indigenous to the original recipe (it’s not, and I don’t use it in this dish), but because rosemary is such a wonderful crowd pleaser with lamb.
The exact same dish is delicious made with beef. I love beef cheeks for stew, I wish there was a way to make them sound as delicious as they taste! Remember to wash them thoroughly to rid them of any excess salt, and don’t add salt anywhere in the dish, just as I instruct you to add no salt in any meat or poultry dish, since the Kashering provides plenty of salt.
- 8 lamb shanks, or 3 ½ pounds lean lamb or beef, cut in 2 inch cubes
- 2 good pinches saffron
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 sprig rosemary, optional, leaves only (skip if you are using beef)
- Ground pepper to taste (no salt anywhere please: The lamb shanks have enough salt to season the whole dish, and then some)
- 2 pounds button mushrooms
- 2 10 ounce boxes frozen artichoke hearts, or frozen artichoke bottoms
Put the lamb shanks or cubes in a heavy pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium, cover and cook 2 hours. Add the saffron, turmeric, rosemary and mushrooms and cook another 45 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and cook another 15 minutes. Make sure you don’t bruise the artichokes. The liquid in the pot should look thick and creamy. If it is too thin, transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving platter with a slotted spoon, and reduce the sauce on a high flame until is reaches the consistency of maple syrup. Pour the sauce over all. Serve hot alone or with roasted potatoes.