This was great fun! Although lamb is not my favorite protein Ken really loves it so I went for it. The recipe we used actually called for goat shanks but Ken was adamant that he would not eat “a” goat.
The original recipe was from Paula Wolfert but we got it from Deborah Horn via a San Francisco blog called Figments.
Here’s the Figments recipe:
Goat Tagine with Fennel and Olives
6 meaty goat shanks
Sea Salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise
2 medium bulbs of fennel, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise
1 large pinch of saffron threads, lightly finger-crushed
6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground coriander seed
1 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground cumin
2 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground fennel seed
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup fresh tomato peeled and chopped, or good boxed/canned chopped tomatoes
4 cups of chicken stock or water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), stem and all, tied with butcher string
1/2 cup oil-cured olives
1 large preserved lemon, rinsed and quartered
Preheat oven to 375. Salt and pepper the goat shanks. Brown them over medium-high heat in a large, deep casserole that will fit all the meat and go in the oven. Remove shanks from the pan and add olive oil, onions and half the fennel and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the saffron, garlic, ginger and all spices and cook another 5 minutes. Add the honey and tomatoes and cook a few minutes. Add stock and tuck shanks back into pot along with the cinnamon stick and tied cilantro. Bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in the oven until tender, about 3 hours. Check every so often; add more liquid if necessary. Add olives, lemon and remaining fennel to the stew the last 15 minutes of cooking. It is finished when the fennel is tender and the meat is buttery and falling off the bone. Taste and season as necessary.

This was a really a culinary adventure–a flavor profile with which I am mostly unfamilar and some unusual ingredients. I never thought about cooking lamb shanks before. The hunt for preserved lemons in Tallahassee proved futile so I put in a few slices of fresh lemon. I think it would have been better to add just a tiny bit, a teaspoon? of vinegar for the acid that the preserved lemons might have added.
The overall dish was not my favorite. Too rich for me and I am not a big lamb fan. But I loved the process.
We ate it with some cous cous and some simple kale. We drank a cheap Cabernet with it and I thought that worked.

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