To make the preserved lemons, cover the bottom of a sterilised jar with a layer of coarse salt. Cut the lemons into quarters, without cutting all the way through to the base. Place a teaspoon of salt in the centre of the lemon, place in the jar and repeat with the remaining lemons. Push the lemons down firmly with a wooden spoon, until they are very tightly packed in the jar. Pour over the lemon juice to cover, add bay leaf and any remaining salt. Seal the jar and store in a cool dark place for a month before using. Use only the rind, scrape away flesh and pith.
For the tagine, toss together the salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, saffron along with its liquid and lemon juice in a shallow bowl. Rub this onto the shanks and marinate for 2 hours.
Heat oil in a deep pot and brown shanks. Remove and set aside. Sauté onion and garlic in the remaining oil, return shanks to the pot, add cinnamon stick and cover with stock. Add 1⁄4 preserved lemon, roughly chopped (pith and flesh removed). Simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Add apricots and honey. Cook for another half an hour.
Toast the couscous in a dry frying pan until golden brown. Place in a heat-proof bowl and cover with hot stock. Wrap the bowl with cling film and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Serve tagine with toasted couscous and almonds.
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A holiday classic with a twist!