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Moroccan-Style Lamb Shanks With Potatoes and Peas

This recipe, adapted from The Pleasures of Cooking for One, by Judith Jones (Knopf, 2009), could be made on a weekend (since it involves slow cooking) and then reincarnated into something else later in the week. Shanks are often sold two to a package, so buy the whole package and enjoy them twice.

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, peeled and slivered

1 slice fresh ginger, about the size of a quarter

1/8 teaspoon saffron threads

2 lamb shanks

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3-4 small new potatoes

1/2 cup fresh peas or frozen, defrosted

2 strips preserved lemon, pulp scraped off and peel julienned

3-4 green olives, pitted and quartered

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and cilantro (if you have it)

Heat the oil in a small heavy pot or skillet, and stir in the onion, garlic, ginger and saffron, then lay in the lamb shanks. Cook for about 5 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently and turning the shanks over.

Pour in enough water to cover, and sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grindings of pepper. Cover and continue to cook over low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the shanks are very tender. Check the level of liquid and add more water if necessary so it just covers the shanks.

Add the potatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the peas, preserved lemon and olives, and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes.

Fish out one of the shanks and the potatoes, and place on a warm plate. Then, with a fine-mesh scoop, pick up all the peas and seasonings and scatter them over the meat. Pour on some of the cooking sauce (you'll only use about half of it), and sprinkle the parsley and cilantro on top. Reserve the remaining cooking sauce.

Variations
Lima beans can be substituted for the peas. If you don't have preserved lemon, use a couple of slivers of fresh lemon peel, finely julienned.

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