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Merguez-Spiced Lamb Shanks with Chickpeas

kept bytihleigh

Butcher-shop owner Tanya Cauthen likes flavoring supremely tender braised lamb with a North African spice blend that includes cumin and fennel seeds. Lamb shanks are great for serving at dinner parties, since they look so dramatic, but lamb stew meat—cut from the shoulder or the leg—is equally delicious. Or, for a less gamey flavor, substitute beef short ribs.

Make Ahead The braised shanks can be refrigerated in the sauce for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving. Notes Harissa is a North African chile paste. It is available at specialty shops. Serve With Couscous.


1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
8 lamb shanks (about 1 pound each)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts chicken stock
One 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
Harissa, for serving (see Note)



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