Persian Lamb in Pomegranate Quince sauce
Serves 8 (1 shank serves 2)
4 Lamb shanks, visible fat trimmed off
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, sliced thinly
2 cups best-quality pomegranate juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon whole clove
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons quince jam
1/2 a lemon's juice
In a large heavy pan, brown the shanks on all sides, turning them after 5-8 minutes on each side. You’ll be able to brown the short sides if you help prop one shank with the other. If you have the room, you can brown them all in the same pan. Set aside.
Pour off all the lamb fat from the pan. Place the butter and cut onions into the pan and cook the onions for 5-8 minutes until golden. Put the shanks back in the pan and add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, salt, pomegranate juice, 2 tablespoons of sugar and water. (If you’re using 2 pans, you’ll have to duplicate all the ingredients for the other pan with the shanks.) Cover and cook on low for 1 1/2 hours. Check the pan once in a while to check on the liquid; it should be halfway up the side of the lamb, and add pomegranate juice and water at a 2:1 ratio if the lamb still needs time to cook. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes if necessary, but don’t overcook. Once cooked, the meat will be tender and falling off the bone. Remove the shanks and set aside.
To the sauce, add 2 tablespoons of quince jam and simmer the until reduced in half. If the sauce becomes too sweet, adjust with fresh lemon juice to bring back some of the tang. You can strain the sauce from the onions or leave them in. Pour some of the sauce over the shanks before serving just to give them some shine and set the rest of the pomegranate sauce at the table.
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