Welcome to another edition of Sunday night dinner at Julia’s place!
My guests for dinner included my niece and my mother and they both loved what was on the menu. The menu started with a baby kale salad sprinkled with freshly grated romano cheese and the feature dish consisted of a wonderful lamb tagine served on herbed brown rice. It was a mixture of tangy and sweet enveloped in the rich the fragrance of Moroccan spices.
Tagines in Moroccan cuisine are slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They are traditionally cooked in the tagine pot, the conical cover which has a knob-like handle at it’s top to facilitate removal. While simmering, the cover can be lifted off without the aid of a mitten, enabling the cook to inspect what’s cooking and adjust the contents as desired.
Here’s an example of a Moroccan Tagine Pot
It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving.
You can see these pots for sale in many quality cooking shops and people seem to be purchasing them. Although I have cooked several tagines over the years, I have never invested in the proper tagine pot. I can only imagine that when I do invest in one of these, that my results will produce an even better dish! For the purposes of this recipe, I cooked it in a large heavy frying pan.
Over the years, I have taken ingredients from several different recipes and created one of my own. You will need to do some prep work the day before because the meat requires marinating for the best results. The cooking time is approximately 2 hours.
Here is the version I have come up with:
2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 3 lbs lamb meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 large onions peeled and finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 2 Tbsp grated ginger root
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1-1/2 pinches saffron
- 1 tsp coriander
- 6 carrots peeled and sliced
- 1-1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
- about 3-1/2 cups of homemade chicken broth
- 4 tsp tomato paste
- 1-2 Tbsp runny honey
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (optional)
- Place chopped lamb in a bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil. In a large ziplock bag, toss the spices together, including paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt , saffron, and coriander. Mix well. Add the lamb to the bag, and toss until completely coated. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
- Melt coconut oil in large frying pan over medium high heat and brown the lamb in batches until browned on all sides. Remove and put on plate, and repeat until all lamb is browned. Stir onions and carrots into the same pan and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add ginger, garlic and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Return the lamb and juices to the pan and stir well.
- Pour enough stock to cover the ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer. Skim the surface frequently until stock is clear, then partially cover the pan with lid and cook gently stirring occasionally for 1-1/2 hours .
- Slice the lemon thinly and chop the dried apricots. Add to pot including honey to taste and stir. Simmer uncovered for another 30-45 minutes stirring frequently until lamb is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. (this stew can be made ahead and reheated before serving.)
- This dish can be served with couscous or because my husband cannot eat wheat, we use brown rice. I will often cook the rice in chicken stock instead of water, and add a large handful of italian parsley and mint, and a small handful of cilantro. I sprinkle lemon zest on the rice before serving and 2 tsp or lemon juice.
- This recipe serves 6 people.
Voila, the dish is ready!
This dish was fabulous! Don’t let the list of ingredients intimidate you, even if you’re missing a few items, it will still be delicious. This dish has been a standard at our house and after last night’s review I’m sure it will show up on the menu again soon.
Dessert, well we had some of the delicious christmas cake I served last week ( see my post on Wonderful GF Christmas cake and shortbread cookies). Mom and Gillian had not tasted it yet so they had a chance to review it. As expected, they thought it was absolutely divine.
Until next time, keep on cooking and have a wonderful week! I’ll be back next Monday with another exciting adventure in Sunday night dinner at Julia’s place!