Are you ready for a gorgeous summer weekend? If your busy social schedule allows, here is a fun dish to make and/or savor with friends: a lamb tagine.
TAGINE is a Berber dish from North Africa. It is named after the special pot in which it is prepared. A traditional tajine is made of heavy clay and consists of two parts: a flat and circular base unit with low sides, and a large cone-shaped lid that covers the base during cooking. The top promotes the return of all condensation to the bottom. The base can be taken to the table for serving the meal and starting a conversation.
- 1 (3 1/2-to 4-pound) boneless lamb shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- Salt and ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium onions, halved and sliced pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
- 4(2-inch-long) strips zest from 1 lemon, trimmed of white pith
- 8 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 8 teaspoons), plus 2 medium garlic cloves, mashed to a fine paste
- 2 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
- 2 cups pitted Greek green olives, halved
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped medium (NOTE: a variety of dried fruits, including pitted prunes, dark raisins, golden raisins, or currants, can be substituted for the apricots.)
- ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup juice from 2 lemons
- ½ teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven (or a tagine, if you have one :)over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the lamb and brown well on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes; transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with 1 tablespoon more oil and the remaining lamb; transfer to the bowl.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, lemon zest strips, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat until the onions are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic, paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in the broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Stir in the honey and browned lamb with any accumulated juice and bring to a simmer. Cover, place the pot in the oven, and cook for 1 hour.
- Stir in the carrots and continue to cook in the oven, covered, until the meat is tender, 1 to 11/2 hours longer.
- Remove the tagine from the oven and remove the lemon zest strips. Stir in the olives and apricots, cover, and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic paste, cilantro, lemon juice, and grated lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
This cooking magazine recipe has gotten thumbs up from my Moroccan friend whose grandma used to make this dish. If any of you have made variations of this recipe, we’d love your comments below.
Happy cooking 🙂
(Have a recipe you’d like to share? Tell us about it and we’ll feature it on a Foodie Friday).