Thursday, September 01, 2011

lamb tagine with dates

Lamb Tagine with Dates

Serves 6

Tender lamb seasoned with cilantro, cinnamon, ginger and saffron joins chickpeas, dates, oranges and almonds in this classic Moroccan dish. "Tagine" refers to slowly simmered meat, fish and vegetable dishes that have both a sweet and savory flavor. Not to be confused, it is also the name of the earthenware dish that these highly aromatic stews are prepared and served in. Serve this lamb tagine over couscous for a complete, delicious meal.


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
8 ounces pitted dates, quartered
1 3/4 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons honey
2 oranges, peeled and cut into sections (optional)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
1 1/2 cups couscous, prepared according to package directions


Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add lamb and cook, searing until just brown, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer each batch of lamb to a bowl. Add onions to the Dutch oven and cook until tender about 4 minutes. Mix in broth, parsley, cilantro, cinnamon, ginger, and saffron. Return all of the lamb with its juices to the Dutch oven and bring to a rolling simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until lamb is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Add dates, chickpeas, and honey to lamb mixture and stir to incorporate. Simmer until heated through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a deep platter and garnish with oranges and almonds, if you like. Serve spooned over the couscous.

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