Lamb Tagine with Dates and Apricots
2 ½ lbs boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat (will yield around 2 lbs) and cut in 1 ½” cubes
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons oil: either olive or coconut oil
2 large onions, cut in 1 1/2” pieces
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, cut in 1” dice
2 cups chicken or lamb broth
large pinch saffron, crushed (I use a mortar and pestle)
1 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
A note about cinnamon:
Different varieties of cinnamon have various levels of potency. My Vietnamese cinnamon can knock your socks off! I might use 1 teaspoon of that. My Ceylon cinnamon, which is the cinnamon that is supposed to be good to regulate blood sugar levels, isn’t as flavorful and I might bump the amount of cinnamon up to a tablespoon. Adjust the amount of cinnamon to suit your taste. Add 1 teaspoon in the beginning, when called for, and then you can add more in the last 20 minutes of cooking if you feel it needs more.
1 medium sweet potato, cut in 1 ½” pieces
½ cup dried apricots
1 cup pitted dates, quartered – cut lengthwise and crosswise
freshly ground pepper – to taste
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Season the lamb
Put cut lamb pieces into a bowl and season with the turmeric, ginger and ½ teaspoon sea salt.
Pan-sear the lamb
Heat a Dutch oven (or a tagine if you have one) over a high heat and add the 2 tablespoons oil.
When the oil is hot add half the lamb cubes and pan sear on all sides – about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the lamb from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat with remaining lamb.
Sauté the onion
Add cut onions to the hot pan. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Stir to get the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
Cook the onions until they are translucent – about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. If the onions begin to scorch add a bit of water, just enough to prevent burning.
Add garlic, carrot and lamb, some spice and simmer
Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two then add the carrot, lamb, chicken or lamb broth, saffron and cinnamon.
Put a lid on the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook covered for about an hour.
Add the sweet potato, apricot and dates
After the stew has simmered for about an hour add the sweet potato, apricots, dates, nutmeg and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to the pot.
Simmer with lid on until the sweet potato is tender, usually about 30 minutes.
Taste the tagine and adjust seasoning if needed.
If more seasoning is added simmer for another 10 minutes or so to blend the flavors.
Serve with couscous or long grain rice.
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