In January 1995 two friends,
You can either cook the shanks in a heavy saucepan on top of the stove or braise them in the oven. If the latter, you’ll need a braising dish that is deeper than the shanks to ensure they are covered with liquid as they cook. With the first method you’ll need to roast them first anyway, so start by
Make the harissa while the lamb shanks are browning (or prepare it in advance). Add the peppers to the lamb pan and
Sauté the vegetables and chilli in the cooking oil until they soften and go slightly golden, then add the lemon dice and sauté for a further minute. Now add the tomato, roast spices, dried mint, olives, tamarind, fish sauce and tamari and bring to a gentle boil. Turn off and wait until the lamb shanks are ready.
When the lamb is ready drain off any fat in the roasting dish, then pour the tomato mixture on top and add enough warm water to come three-quarters of the way up the shanks. Seal the dish with foil and
Make the parsnip couscous 1 hour before eating. I use the couscous that most supermarkets and delis stock – it’s precooked and just needs soaking. Soak in cold water and place the covered bowl in a warm place as this gives a much lighter and fluffier result than adding hot water from the start. Put the parsnips in a pot and cover with cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt and boil until cooked, then leave to cool for 5 minutes. Mix the coriander and lemon juice and zest with the oil. Put the couscous into a heatproof bowl, pour on the parsnips and their liquid and mix well. Add the oil and lemon mixture and mix again, then add enough cold water to cover it all by 5mm (⅕in). Mix well again, cover with clingfilm and stand in a warm place for at least 45 minutes.
Serve the shanks on top of a mound of couscous with lots of the tomato stew and have the harissa in a separate bowl so people can add as much as they want.
© 1997 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.