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Arab Lamb Ossobuco (page 2 of 2)

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An incredible festive 7-layers dish with lamb shanks, ground beef over rice. Delicious but quite involved if you're alone in the kitchen!
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Cut the bread into thin slices and rub olive oil on both sides. Put in a toaster or oven until nicely colored. Traditionally such croûtons are fried in a sea of oil but I could not resolve myself to add yet more fat.

Cook the basmati rice separately, using the lamb stock remaining in the pot after you have strained the lamb. You can definitely used regular water or stock since the dish doesn't lack flavor and only the most discerning gourmets will detect the absence of lamb stock.

The plating is the fun part awarded to those cook who did not collapse before this stage. This is, after all, a seven-pot dish.

Start by laying the croûtons on a plate or serving dish. Sprinkle them with the lemon juice and crushed garlic sauce.

Put a generous layer of rice over the croûtons.

Cover the rice with a ladleful of garlic yogurt sauce.

Carefully place the lamb cubes or shanks on top and cover with a generous quantity of ground beef.

Sprinkle the roasted almonds and pine nuts on top and serve. If you have help in the kitchen, ask a fresh and rested cook to do the plating to achieve a beautiful result.

The dish is spectacular when you dip in it, with its intense flavors combining differently at every forkful. If I do this dish again, I would replace the boiled lamb with braisé lamb shanks - Italian technique with the Arab spices.

I warmly recommend the book The Arab Table, which you can buy on Amazon.com.

Published 02/05/2007
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21 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by parshu.narayanan
  • on: 07/05/2007
It looks awesome. What I find interesting is that the spices are very Indian - if we added red chillies, coriader and fresh ginger it would taste remarkably Indian - also most of those spices grow here in India (except the chilkosas and almonds) but I dont know if they do in Arabia. Maybe ancient trade routes plied by Arabian Sindbads made them part of traditional Arab cuisines
  • #2
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 07/05/2007
Thank you for your comments! Indeed the Arabs have traveled far and taken good advantage of some of the many Indian contributions to world cuisine such as Cardamom.
  • #3
  • Comment by STEVE
  • on: 30/10/2007
My arab friend and I actually made this last Thanksgiving for a pot luck. He actually cooked it in the crock pot. He explained his mother and grandmother would cook it in a dutch oven for days. It kept and travelled well. As it was on a buffet we served it with Pita bread. It was awesome. EVERYONE wanted the recipe
  • #4
  • Comment by keshiana
  • on: 05/11/2007
Do you have any recipes for vegetarians?
  • #5
  • Comment by Niall
  • on: 12/01/2008
I made this over Christmas and it was absolutely fantastic. The flavours all combined magnificently and it was much appreciated. Trouble was, I was exhausted by the end!Just a few things though to clarify - I had to make up the garlic yoghurt bit. I simply added 7 crushed cloves to the two cups of natural yoghurt at the start and left it in the fridge for 3 hours to infuse. It was fantastic. Similarly with the lemon juice and garlic, except I only used 3 cloves. I was trying to balance the 10 cloves of garlic between the lemon juice and yoghurt, but I think the yoghurt was slightly too garlicy and I'd reduce it to 5 cloves maybe if I had the stamina to make this again.Also, I'd emphasise that the lamb should be boiled for one hour OR until soft. Because I was working around the Christmas television, I had allowed only one hour for my lamb shanks. The lamb in the end was lovely and flavoursome but still quite tough and might have benefited from a little longer in the pan.Finally, I'd make sure you get your timings right. I thought it would be ok to cook the lamb, then work on the mince and rice at the same time. Unfortunately the lamb was then slightly cold. I'd keep it cooking until the last possible moment so you can use the stock for the rice. Or even keep it cooking to the end and use regular water and a stock cube.But despite what I said above, the meal was still absolutely delicious and I'd heartily recommend it if you have the endurance to see it through. Preparing the spice mixes, yoghurt and lemon beforehand certainly helped. Also, the cardamom wasn't in the recipe but was in the list of ingredients (and I had gone to every shop in Dublin looking for it!) so I added it to the lamb.Hopefully anyone who's reading and thinking of this recipe would have the bravery to give it a go. And hopefully you can avoid my teething problems! Thanks for the recipe!
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 16/01/2008
Niall I am so happy that you decided to try this recipe! Exhausting it is, and you are brave to have made it for Christmas without rehearsal. I think the lamb shank is the weak part of the dish, the Italians do it much better and depending on the lamb shanks you get it can take quite a while for them to become really tender. Cardamom is the world's third most expensive spice and you were very right to hunt it down, it does make a big difference. I hope it was a success and that I'll see you around on FXcuisine.com!
  • #7
  • Comment by cadelinha
  • on: 20/02/2008
Congratulations! Lamb ossobucco is fantastic. I tried to cook it at Casa Velha, Tavira, Portugal. We have, in the South, tradicional dishes of arab origin but.... a little less elaborated.
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 23/02/2008
Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you decided to try this Arab dish! The Arabs also borrowed from you, see the pigeon pastilla recipe. Good luck!
If I may pick one really minor nit, it would be "ossobuco", not "ossobucco".  I know that the spelling with two Cs has managed to install itself into the English language as an alternate spelling, I have seen people use it frequently in the US.
At the same time, I know that you like to be philological at times, so perhaps you may want to correct this...
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 22/05/2008
Santo Cielo, Walter ho sbagliato, come ho potuto scrivere 'buco' con due 'c'. Vado subito lavarme i denti con sapone.
  • #11
  • Comment by Mrs. A.A
  • on: 02/08/2008
OMG! I tried this recipe last night for dinner and it is absolutely delicious! The combination is amazing and the garlic with lemon sauce on the crunchy bread made it wonderful. We loved it, however this dish raised the bar for me.. so I need to either cook it again or perfect another mouth-watering dish :)
  • #12
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 03/08/2008
Mrs AA, thanks for your message and I´m glad this recipe worked for you, try to get your hands on the book whose link I give at the bottom of the article, there are many more recipes like this one there.
  • #13
  • Comment by michael williams
  • on: 05/11/2008
This is sounds like a great recipe!

Can you give an advice about which wine to have with this couscous?

Michael Williams
  • FX's answer→ This is not couscous but rice, not sure about the wine though.

  • #15
  • Comment by Lisa Marie  
  • on: 09/11/2008
This is the dah bomb. Thank you FX!!!!!

I was astounded at how easy it was for me to make, in a tiny kitchen.
If you have all your ingredients prepared ahead of time (mis en place)
this recipe is a breeze to make.

Some tips:

Cardamon is listed as an ingredient, but you don't know which meat to add it too.
I added it to both, and it was very pleasant.

Used fresh spices. Do not skimp on this part. I am very lucky to live in Vancouver, BC which has an excellent Indian Market, boasting of delicious fresh spices.
It really made the difference with regard to flavour.

I used lamb sirloin steaks and it turned out well. I used some reserved fat from the frying off to toast the pine nuts and almonds. It really enhanced the flavour. The lamb was so tender it was falling off the bones. Once it cooled, I ripped it apart with two forks. Reserve the stock for the rice as I tried it both ways (plain H20 and lamb stock). The lamb stock is superior flavour. To me, cooking rice in water was like adding water to tea (forgive the analogy).

If timing is a problem, I kept my lamb warm in the oven moistened with a bit of lamb broth and covered with tin foil. It did not dry out.

I cheated and used tzakizi dip for the yoghurt part.
  • FX's answer→ Lisa Marie, I am so glad you liked this recipe and that it worked for you! Incredible that you found it easy and quick, it took  me ages to prepare. Have a look at the book mentioned at the end of the article, it has many great recipes too!

  • #17
  • Comment by chris
  • on: 04/05/2009
Umm...how much ground beef to use? You never said in the ingredient list...
  • #18
  • Comment by Lisa Marie
  • on: 29/08/2009
if you have time, simmer the stock in a slow cooker overnight. amazing flavor comes out from the slow, long simmering. I used 1.5 lbs of ground beef for this.
  • FX's answer→ Lisa Marie, most cookbooks recommend not oversimmering stock if my memory serves me right. Do you have a clear liquid at the end or do all sort of substances that live in the bones louche the stock?

  • #20
  • Comment by Lisa Marie
  • on: 03/09/2009
FX's answer→ Lisa Marie, most cookbooks recommend not oversimmering stock if my memory serves me right. Do you have a clear liquid at the end or do all sort of substances that live in the bones louche the stock?

Lisa's Answer-if you put it in a slow cooker, it steams the meat, rather than simmer's it. You need to strain and skim the stock repeatedly, or it will get cloudy. I have this device that separates the liquid from the fat/bones, and the slow sitting spigot allows the strained liquid to be poured away from the fat/bones. I am more of a flavour person, so the rice was slightly dark, but very flavorful.



  • #21
  • Comment by Randy L Brooks
  • on: 03/09/2011
This recipe looks great but I do not see and measurement for the spices, etc.  I am a novice cooker (male) and used to be a chemist.  I need to know 1/2 1/4 ,etc measurments

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