After the pistachio crusted rack of lamb I was thinking about lamb even more. My thoughts naturally came the the Moroccan lamb tagine that I made and enjoyed so much last year. This lamb tagine uses a wonderful blend of Moroccan spices to season the meat before it is braised until it is nice and fall apart tender. Near the end of the cooking some dried fruits and honey are added for a bit of sweetness and some harissa is added for some chili heat. The combination of the flavourful slow braised lamb with the spices and the sweet dried fruit and the warmth is simply amazing and I was salivating at the thought of making it again this year. This time I changed things up just a little. The last time that I made this I used various dried fruits and I chopped them up so that they melted into the sauce. This year I decided to focus on apricots and I left them whole to add a nice change in texture and bursts of apricot flavour to the stew. I also decided to drop the carrots in favour of having the vegetables on the side.
This years apricot lamb tagine easily lived up to my memories of last years and I was thoroughly satisfied! The lamb was perfectly fall apart tender and oh so tasty. All of the flavours in the pot had plenty of time to mingle and get to know each other over the hours of simmering and the lamb was infused with the wonderful results. Despite the strong flavours in the sauce the taste of the lamb still came through and it really works well in this dish. Of course I served the lamb tagine on a bed of light and fluffy whole wheat couscous and I garnished it with some chopped cilantro and pistachios.
I hope everyone has a great Easter!
Apricot Lamb Tagine(makes 4 servings)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch saffron
1 teaspoon lemon (zest)
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound lamb (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used chopped sun dried tomatoes)
1-2 cups beef stock
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons harissa
1/4 cup pistachios (chopped, optional)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped, optional)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped, optional)
1 cup Greek style yogurt (optional)
1. Mix the paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, cayenne pepper, saffron, lemon zest and oil in a ziplock bag along with the lamb, mix well and marinate the fridge for a few hours to overnight.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-hight heat add the lamb, brown well on all sides and set aside.
3. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for about a minute.
5. Add the lamb and tomato paste and beef stock, bring to a boil, reduce the meat and simmer covered until the lamb is fall apart tender, about 2-3 hours.
6. Add the apricots, raisins and more beef stock to cover.
7. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
8. Add the honey and harissa.
9. Serve on couscous and garnished with pistachios, cilantro, parsley and Greek yogurt.
Slow Cooker: Implement step 1, optionally implement steps 2-4, place everything except the garnishes in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or high for 2-4 hours.
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