Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Honey and Apricots

Total Time:
12 hr 10 min
Prep:
50 min
Inactive:
8 hr 35 min
Cook:
2 hr 45 min

Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onions
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 threads Spanish saffron, crushed
  • 16 fresh cilantro sprigs, tied together with a cotton string
  • 1 cup dried, pitted apricots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • Moroccan Vegetable Couscous, recipe follows
  • Moroccan Yogurt with Preserved Lemon Dip, recipe follows
  • Moroccan Vegetable Couscous:
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved
  • 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound fine-grain couscous, (dried but not processed)
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 pound cauliflower florets, cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 (16-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Moroccan Yogurt with Preserved Lemon Dip:
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons preserved lemon, minced, skin only
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions

Cut lamb into 1 1/2-inch cubes and place in a medium-sized bowl. Season the lamb with turmeric, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Heat a tagine or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and half of the seasoned lamb. Cook the lamb until browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the lamb from the pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and lamb.

Return the seared lamb to the pan and add the diced onions. Cook, stirring to get the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, saffron, and cilantro bundle and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the apricots and raisins and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain and set the fruit aside.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat, place it on a clean plate, and keep warm. Bring the remaining liquid in the pan to a simmer. Add the sliced onions, apricots, raisins, honey, cinnamon, ground pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Return the liquid to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until mixture is slightly thickened. Add the cooked lamb back into the sauce and cook to heat through, about 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs. Serve with Moroccan Vegetable Couscous and Moroccan Yogurt with Preserved Lemon Dip.

Moroccan Vegetable Couscous:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the red pepper halves and onion quarters with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium bowl. Arrange pepper and onion, cut sides down, on a small baking sheet, drizzling any remaining olive oil onto the baking sheet as well. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the skin is browned and bubbly. Peel, seed, and dice the red bell pepper and dice the onion. Set aside.

Rinse the couscous in a fine-meshed strainer under cold running water until completely soaked. Drain and place in a medium bowl. Allow couscous to stand and swell for 5 minutes.

Arrange a vegetable steamer or other steamer insert with small holes in a large stockpot with water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil and add the couscous to the vegetable steamer. Cover tightly and steam for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender and fluffy. Remove from the steamer, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fluff with a fork. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cauliflower, and cook until lightly brown and softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, zucchini, tomatoes and juices, garbanzo beans, chopped red onion and bell pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, and cover to keep warm.

In a small skillet heat the butter over medium heat. When foamy, add the almonds and cook until toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Arrange the couscous on a large serving platter and top with the vegetable mixture, tossing gently. Sprinkle toasted almonds over the top and serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Moroccan Yogurt with Preserved Lemon Dip:

Put the yogurt in a cheesecloth lined strainer over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight to drain.

Put the drained yogurt in a medium bowl and stir in the cucumber, mint, and lemon. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


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