Date molasses, pomegranate juice and orange juice in the braising liquid give this dish a Middle Eastern-fusion flavor.
Called silan in Israel, date molasses is a thick, sweet syrup made from pressed dates. We found it at Yekta Supermarket and at KosherMart, both in Rockville.
The recipe can be doubled; in that case, use about 1/3 less liquid. It's good to make this a day in advance; cover and refrigerate to let the flavors develop.
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 6 lamb shanks, trimmed of excess fat (5 to 6 1/2 pounds total)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the meat
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning the meat
- 2 to 3 large parsnips, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 1/2 to 4 cups)
- 2 large red onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium celery roots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups baby-cut carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 750-ml bottle white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
- 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
- Juice from 3 medium oranges (3/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons date molasses (see headnote; may substitute honey)
- 3 whole star anise
- 2 to 3 sticks cinnamon (may substitute 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon)
- 2 to 3 cups water, or as needed
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or wide pot over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, season the trimmed lamb shanks all over with salt and pepper to taste. Working in 2 batches, add them to the pot and sear on all sides, turning as needed; this will take about 5 minutes for each batch. Transfer to a platter.
Add the parsnips, onions, celery root and carrots to the pot; cook for about 3 minutes, stirring to coat them in the oil flavored by the meat. Return all the lamb shanks to the pot, then add the wine, juices, date molasses, star anise, cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper and the water (use more water as needed to make sure the meat is covered). Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil, then place the pot lid on top to seal the pot well. Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until the lamb is almost falling off the bone.
When the meat is done, carefully transfer it and the vegetables to a platter; if serving right away, cover with foil to keep warm. Increase the heat to high and cook the liquid for about 30 minutes, until it has reduced by two-thirds. Spoon the reduced sauce over the meat and vegetables; serve warm.
From Washington caterer Vered Guttman.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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