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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lamb Shank, Drumstick, and Merguez Couscous

So I was planning on just picking up some bread and coming home.  The problem with that idea is that my bread place is the same as my vegetable wonderland place.  As I walked in, I was hypnotized by all the fresh peaches and misty vegetables, so I decided to take a stroll and see if anyone interesting wanted to chat.  A long white (fairly crooked) turnip caught my eye.  "Oh.. it's been a long time since I've worked with you," I told him.  "S'il vous plaaiiit!" it said to me showing me its little crooked bend.  I don't know why, but this turnip completely charmed me.. and I don't usually fall for that act, but this one smiled at me, as if saying.. "you know I'm kidding about the cripple thing, but I'll blow your mind in a couscous I promise!"
Where's the food!  I quickly brain scanned my freezer content and decided that there was nothing more desirable and more attainable tonight than some couscous with some crazy delicious lamb shank.  I wasn't even sure that was even something that was done.. and I've recently taken to using chana dal instead of chickpeas because of the faster cooking time and the no-need-to-peel factor.  This was a win-win-blow your mind-deal.  Why not?
This took me 1 hour and 15 minutes.. int he pressure cooker.  You could easily just dump it all into a crockpot and cook it on low for 7 hours.  At this late point in the day, I hadn't talked to the turnip yet, so there were no 7 hours for me to wait.
Serves 6
small drizzle EVOO
2 lamb shanks
1 chopped onion
2 chopped medium tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp ras el hanout
4 cups water or as needed
1 coarsely chopped long white turnip
2 coarsely chopped carrots
6 chicken drumsticks
1 Tbsp harissa
1 cube dehydrated lamb broth
6 merguez sausages
1 coarsely chopped zucchini
6 oz (18cL) chana dal, rinsed
cracked black pepper
1 bunch cilantro for garnish
1 3/4 cup cooked thin grained couscous
1.  In a pressure cooker, heat a drizzle of EVOO on high heat, then throw in the lamb shanks and cook until colored, flipping, for about 5 minutes.  It will get smokey.  No problem.  Open a window.
2.  Add the onion and listen to it sizzle.  Mmmm.
3.  Add the tomatoes, half the ras el hanout, the tomato paste, and enough water to level.  Close the cooker and let it cook for 30 minutes under pressure.
4.  Remove the pressure and open the cooker.  Add the turnip, carrots, and drumsticks in that order.  Sprinkle with the rest of the ras el hanout, lamb cube, the harissa, and more water just to level.  You don't want to submerge, just have enough to make a sexy broth.  Close and cook under pressure for another 10 minutes.
5.  Remove the pressure again and contemplate the loveliness.  Add in the chana dal, zucchini, and merguez sausages in that order.  You could also separately grill the sausages and add them in just to serve.. but I didn't think of that until I was actually eating.  Plus, you dirty less dishes this way, and it doesn't bother me to eat "steamed" merguez instead of grilled.  Close and cook under pressure for another 10 minutes.
6.  Remove the pressure (this is the last time, I promise).  Add a bunch of cracked black pepper.  The lamb should fall of the bone, the chana dal and vegetables should be bite tender but still firm.

Serve over some couscous and top with some chopped cilantro.
I may have just auto-fainted myself.  This week has been an insane mix of desire and realization...
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