Decadent, succulent and exotic, this casserole is made with modest ingredients: lamb shanks and vegetables including lentils and chickpeas, seasoned with Middle Eastern spices.
INGREDIENTS (for 5 servings):
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds lamb shanks
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 cups roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chile peppers
- 1 dash hot pepper sauce
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute lamb shanks until lightly browned, then remove them from skillet and place in a deep casserole dish. Saute onion and garlic in skillet until tender, then stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils. Season mixture with cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, chile peppers and hot pepper sauce. Mix well and allow flavors to blend over medium heat, for about 3 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Remove browned shanks from casserole for a moment; transfer vegetable mixture from skillet to casserole dish, then replace shanks on top of vegetable mixture.
Cover dish and bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 2 hours, or until lamb is cooked through and receding from the bone.