Ras el hanout ingredients

Yield: About 3 tablespoons

Mix together:

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Chef’s note: Ras el hanout spice

Literally translated as “head of shop,” the Arabic phrase “ras el hanout” really means “top shelf.” Legend has it this Moroccan spice blend was created by North African spice dealers who would mix together the best of what they had on offer, thus creating a heady, aromatic signature blend – sometimes 50 individual spices deep. Here, the vibrant, earthy mix is pared down to just eight spices (plus salt), including cinnamon, cumin, coriander, allspice, black pepper and ginger.

Ingredients:

Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons Ras el hanout spice

4 lamb shanks, 12 to 16 ounces each

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 leek, thinly sliced

1 package (12 ounces) baby carrots

1 celery, (12 ounces) thinly sliced

1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges

2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup red wine

2 cups beef stock

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour and 1 teaspoon of the seasoning in shallow dish. Coat lamb shanks evenly with flour mixture. Reserve remaining flour mixture.

2. Heat oil in Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add lamb shanks; brown on all sides. Remove from pan.

3. Add leeks, carrots, celery, onion and garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with reserved flour mixture; cook and stir until well blended.

4. Add red wine; stir to loosen browned bits in bottom of pan. Return lamb shanks to pan. Stir in tomatoes, stock and remaining 2 tablespoons of seasoning. Bring to boil. Cover.

5. Braise in oven 2 hours or until lamb shanks are tender. Serve over risotto, creamy polenta or couscous and add blanched vegetables for color.

The Old Bridge Restaurant, 2822 South Park Road, Bethel Park. 412.430.0033. old-bridge.net.

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