1⁄4 olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 lamb shanks, frenched, if desired
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons ras el hanout (available at The Spice House, or make your own)
1⁄4 teaspoons crushed saffron threads
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup blanched whole almonds
2⁄3 cup honey
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Heat oil and butter in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season lamb generously with salt and pepper, and cook, turning as needed, until well browned all over, about 12 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate; set aside.
Add onion to pot, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add raisins, ras el hanout, saffron, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lamb, almonds, honey, and 3 cups water, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and cook, partially covered, until lamb is very tender, about 3 1⁄2 hours. Divide shanks and sauce among serving plates, and sprinkle each with sesame seeds.