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10/03/07 - Moroccan Steamed Lamb Shank

This is one of our favorite dishes from Paula Wolfert's book on Moroccan cooking, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco. It's easy to make if you have a good steamer or a couscousiere. Get yourself from four to six lamb shanks, a fistful or two of parsley, a couple of onions (peeled), some good saffron, black pepper and perhaps half a stick of butter, maybe a bit less. Squeeze the butter until it softens, sprinkle on the saffron and pepper, then smush and fold a few times to make saffron-pepper butter.

Now, set up the steamer with lots of water. The cooking time is an hour and a half to two hours. You want the shanks tender. Rub the shanks with the saffron-pepper butter. Put the parsley in the steaming basket as a base layer. Then put in the shanks and the peeled onions. Seal the thing up. Check now and then to see if the steamer needs more water, and after 90 minutes start checking to see if the meat is falling off the bone.

When the shanks are ready, mix a few teaspoons of ground cumin with some salt to make the dip. Use gray salt, fleur de sel or kosher salt for better balance and a nice crunch. This is an amazingly good dish. The lamb will be silken and redolent of saffron.

Lamb Shank, Onion, Parsley and the Cumin-Salt Dip

Keywords: food, kale