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Algerian Slow-Cooked Lamb Neck

Adapted recipe from Williams-Sonoma
Serves: 4

8 slices of lamb neck
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
500g (1 lb.) yellow onions, diced
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
4 cardamom pods, skins removed
Pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 cans (10 oz. each) diced plum tomatoes
1 bottle dry white wine
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 lb. carrots, peeled and coarsely diced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely diced

Preheat an oven to 180C (350°F).

Generously season the lamb neck with pepper. In an ovenproof deep sauté pan or Dutch oven over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until nearly smoking. Working in batches, browning the neck slices, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.

Add the remaining olive oil, onions and garlic to the pan and sauté, stirring, until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the ginger, cardamom, saffron, chili flakes, cloves, caraway, fennel seeds, cinnamon, curry, salt, almonds and raisins. Sauté, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, wine, orange zest and orange juice, and stir to mix well. Add the lamb neck and bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer the pan to the oven and about 2-3 hours or until the lamb neck is almost falling off the bone.

Add the carrots and fennel bulb after the stew has cooked for an hour. Serve over rice (for Passover), couscous or polenta.