Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat vegetable oil. Season lamb liberally with salt and pepper, cook over medium high heat until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer lamb to bowl and set aside.
Add chopped onions to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until softened, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and red wine, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and all of the spices (cloves, coriander, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon stick), bring to a boil again. Add the lamb and cover with lid.
Braise in the oven for 2.5 hours, turning once halfway through.
Remove from oven, transfer shanks to a bowl. Strain braising liquid into a large skillet and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
Add the lamb to the skillet, and cook on medium-low heat, turning a couple of times until the meat is heated through, 5 minutes.
Place the shanks and sauce into shallow bowls over your favorite side dish. Garnish with mint and serve.
Braised lamb and root vegetables become tender and succulent when cooked slowly in a rich tomato broth with flavorful, aromatic spices. The rich taste of the meat combined with the earthiness of the potatoes, rutabaga, and celery root adds up to an inviting, savory dinner that essentially cooks itself—all it needs is time. Although red bell pepper isn’t a root vegetable, it does add mild peppery flavor and great color, so throw it into the mix and enjoy. The stew here is served over simple white rice, but couscous, small pasta noodles, or creamy polenta would make a great base as well.
1 tsp each ground cumin, ground cinnamon, and dried oregano
½ tsp dried red chile flakes
¼ tsp each allspice and nutmeg
1 lb lamb stew meat (or shoulder, trimmed and cut into bite-sized chunks)
freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into a large dice
1 small rutabaga (about 10 oz), peeled and cut into a large dice
1 small celery root (about 8 oz), peeled and cut into a large dice
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
5-6 oz peeled, baby-cut carrots, cut in half crosswise
2 cups crushed tomatoes, from a 28-oz can
1½ cups vegetable broth
3 cups cooked white rice
Combine all spices, oregano, and chile flakes in a small bowl. Rub the lamb with the spice mixture and set aside 30 minutes.
Season the spice-rubbed lamb with salt and pepper and place in a slow-cooker.
Add the garlic and next 8 ingredients (through broth). Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Cover and cook the stew on high for 3½ to 4 hours, checking for tenderness after 3½ hours. The lamb should be juicy and tender, and the vegetables tender but not mushy.
To serve, divide the cooked rice among 6 shallow bowls. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and vegetables from the slow-cooker (if the broth is very thin) and ladle over the rice in the bowls. Spoon juices from the cooker generously over each bowl and serve right away.