About 3 cups watercress sprigs, rinsed and crisped
How to Make It
Rinse lamb and pat dry; lay shanks side by side in a 12- by 17-inch pan about 2 inches deep. Bake in a 450° regular or convection oven, turning once, until meat is well browned all over, about 25 minutes total. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
Meanwhile, place capers and olives in a fine strainer and rinse with cool water; drain. Mince rosemary or combine with about 1 cup of the wine in a blender and whirl until minced. Scatter capers, olives, and rosemary over lamb (or pour rosemary-wine mixture evenly over lamb) and add the wine (the rest of the wine if whirling some with rosemary); stir around shanks to scrape up browned bits. Sprinkle pepper and lemon peel over meat; add lemon juice to pan. Cover pan tightly with lid or foil.
Bake until meat is very tender when pierced and pulls easily from the bone, 3 to 3 1/4 hours.
Spoon equal portions of Lemon Couscous into wide, shallow bowls. With tongs, lift lamb shanks from pan and set one on couscous in each bowl. Skim and discard fat from juices in pan. Ladle juices with olives and capers over meat. Garnish each bowl with about 1/2 cup watercress sprigs.
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This was a delicious way to prepare lamb shanks. The meaty lamb shanks, the tang of olives and capers, and the fresh taste of the lemon was a very satisfying combination (and it made the house smell wonderful!). My only disappointment was that in cooking it in a shallow pan with only a tinfoil lid allowed too much of the wonderful braising liquid to cook away. I had to add extra chicken broth. Next time I will cook it on a pot with a tight-fitting lid. I made the recipe pretty much as written (I used pimento-stuffed green olives as I had them on hand), and served it with the yummy lemon couscous. I will definitely make this again, and it would be a wonderful casual company dish.