Lamb Tajine with Apples and Baby Okra
- 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds lamb shoulder, bone in, trimmed cut into 4 by 4-inch pieces
- 2 whole garlic peeled and chopped coarsely
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground powder ginger
- 1 big pinch saffron
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 4 cinnamon sticks, broken to 1-inch long pieces
- Kosher salt
- 3 stems parsley
- 3 stems cilantro, finely chopped
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanut (you may substitute with 1 pinch clove and 1 pinch nutmeg)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered red hot pepper, optional
- 4 to 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 pound small green apples, Granny Smith, Island Green, or Orange Pippin, cored, seeds removed and halved (leave the skin on), skin crisscrossed
- 1 pound baby okra, trimmed and kept refrigerated in salted water
Preheat a heavy, thick pot. Add the olive oil and heat, then add the lamb and brown. Add the garlic and onions and stir. Add the pepper then the ginger, saffron, cinnamon, salt, parsley, cilantro, bay leaves, Ras el Hanout, water, and powdered red hot pepper, if using, and bring to a boil for 30 minutes on medium heat.
Add sugar, apples, and okra and cook for another 30 minutes. Add more water if needed. (Make sure the lamb is tender, before you add the sugar, apples, and okra.) Cook until the sauce thickens.
Serve on a large platter, first the lamb and garnish with apples (skin up), okra on top and the sauce over it. Serve hot.