4 tablespoons mild olive oil
1 lb. small whole shallots, peeled
2 lbs. lamb shoulder in 2 – 2½ inch chunks
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon saffron, crumbled into a cup of hot water
4 large firm Bosc pears, cored, quartered but not peeled
2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1.Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or heavy casserole.
2.Add shallots, and sauté until lightly browned.
3.Add lamb, and cook until browned all over.
4.Add just enough wine to cover (about 2 cups). Season with salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and saffron.
5.Bring to a simmer over low heat and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes. If the sauce is thickening as desired, continue simmering covered until lamb is very tender, about another 30 to 40 minutes. If the liquids are not thickening, remove the cover before continuing to simmer. Cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes until the lamb is tender and the liquid is reduced by about three quarters.
6.Melt the butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil in another large skillet over medium heat.
7.Add pears cut side down and cook until cut sides have caramelized.
8.Place pears, skin-side up, on top of meat in the skillet or casserole. Continue to cook, covered, until pears are very tender, about 30 minutes. Be sure not to overcook pears or they will fall apart.
9.Serve immediately with couscous, rice or a small, spoon-able pasta like orzo.
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