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A Taste of Yeman: Port Braised Lamb Shanks

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Yeman is an Arabian nation settled on the banks of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. A visit to this land as old as time, is a visit to living history. Whereas most people think the countries making up the "Arab World" are awash with oil money, the country of Yemen is the poorest and least developed - but their native cuisine is one of the tastiest not just in the Arab world, but in the whole world.

When on a culinary cultural tour of the Middle East a few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. I was taken aback by the almost pre-historic look of the city (as compared to the other countries we visited). There were times outside the city where I seriously felt nothing had changed since the days of the Roman Empire. Once I had the opportunity to taste their national foods and learn their culinary customs I came to the full realization that sometimes "modernization" is not really the best thing. Though they are a poor country, their food is rich and bountiful. The people were always smiling and loved to laugh.

Ingredients needed to make Port Braised Lamb Shanks (serves 2):

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1/4 cup four
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 Tbs. corn oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. celery seeded

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wipe your lamb shanks of any moisture and set aside.
  3. In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder and onion powder.
  4. Dredge (coat) your lamb shanks in the flour mixture and then set them aside.
  5. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the corn oil over medium heat. Add the dredged lamb shanks and brown on all sides.
  6. Remove the lamb shanks from the pan and discard the oil and rendered fat from the lamb shanks.
  7. Into the pan add and stir together the remaining ingredients. Place the lamb shanks back into the pan and cover with a lid.
  8. Place in the oven and braise 90 minutes.
  9. Remove the lamb shanks to serving plates, top with the braising sauce and serve.

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