Cozy fall menu: lamb shank, carrot salad and molasses ginger cake

It’s cool. I want a fire in the hearth and a pot of simmering stew, or a reasonable facsimile of it on the stove.

Indeed, embers and stews are in the foreground in my mind these days. It’s really all I want to cook and eat during the cold months. Everything from an Irish stew to a French beef bourguignon is perfect for me. When lamb shanks arrived recently, I was inspired by Morocco, so the shanks became a kind of tagine, cooked long and slowly until succulent.

To accompany the braised lamb, I chose a spicy carrot salad, one of my favorites. I like to put it in a lettuce leaf for a first course or serve it as a side dish. Made with the freshest carrots, it always delights. While most Moroccan salads are made with cooked veggies, my version uses slivered raw carrots instead.

Lemon carrots are delicious as the recipe is written, flavored with grilled cumin and cilantro, a hint of garlic and a hint of cayenne. But the recipe is versatile. If you want to have a blast, try adding a pinch of cinnamon and a garnish of chewy chopped cilantro and thinly sliced ​​jalapeño. Or add crumbled feta and olives. But for this menu, I like the recipe as is, served on the same plate with the lamb and all its juices.

My method for the lamb is a bit of a project when it comes to time, but it’s not complicated and, for the most part, it cooks itself on its own while you wait. I first simmer the shanks in lightly salted water. Then, softened onions tinged with saffron form the base of the embers, with a little tomato, paprika and dried apricots. After three hours, the lamb is fragrant and tender. The parsnips join the pot later and the chickpeas garnish the final product. (Take the time to soak and cook the dried chickpeas, if you can. Canned use is easier, but freshly cooked chickpeas taste much better, and the drained cooking liquid makes a delicious broth. vegetarian for a future soup.)

Since large lamb shanks can seem intimidating, I remove the cooked meat from the bone and cut it into more manageable pieces. Although the parsnip pieces almost look like bone at first glance in the final dish, the overall impression of the tagine is soft and golden, both visually and on the tongue. The mixture of flavors is magical, perfect for the season.

As with most embers, this one improves after overnight in the refrigerator, giving the flavors time to deepen and melt. It makes excellent leftovers for the same reason. It’s good to do this even a few days before serving.

For dessert, I wanted a spicy ginger cake, as dense and dark as some kinds of English fruitcakes I’ve tasted. And here, molasses, a slightly bitter sweetener, is key, giving the cake the right character. Chopped dates, raisins and a good dose of black pepper are on the menu, as well as ginger and cinnamon. I guarantee that if you bet that you can stop at a slice, you will lose the bet. But if you can manage to show restraint, the cake is also delicious for breakfast or with a nice cup of tea any time of the day.

Receipts: Carrot salad with cumin and coriander | Lamb shank with apricots and chickpeas | Molasses Ginger Cake

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