Moroccan Tagine with Apricots and Lamb

Heavenly is the only way I know to describe the taste of Moroccan cuisine. The flavors meld together so beautifully due to the long cooking times, then do a little dance on your tongue with that first luscious bite. Okay, was that too much? Seriously though...I'm in love with Moroccan food. You'll just need some dried fruits, a few spices and simple, fresh ingredients. Oh, and a bit of time for the slow cooking to work its magic.

Those spices! Ras el Hanout is a great investment and addition to so many dishes. Perfect addition to eggs, on potatoes, in soups and so much more. It's worth a trip to your local spice shop. 

Now, let's get cooking! 

 Preparing the mise en place for the tagine.

Preparing the mise en place for the tagine.

Yields: 6 cups

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons blanched almond slivers (or whole, raw almonds)
  • 1 1/2 red onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 inch piece fresh ginger
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 pound lamb shoulder or leg (cubed)
  • 8 dates (pitted)
  • 8 dried apricots
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout (Spice Blend)
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Optional

  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro

Serve with Couscous

(makes 4 cups cooked couscous)

  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter

Directions:

Thinly slice the onions. Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger with a spoon. Either mince the ginger or grate into a small prep bowl. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the coriander seeds. Use a small paring knife to peel 4 strips of orange peel down and away from you on a cutting board. Rough chop the almonds if using whole, raw almonds.

Peeled Ginger, Chopped Almonds, Minced Garlic and Cinnamon Sticks

Heat the butter and oil over medium heat in a tagine or heavy, large saucepan. Stir in the almonds and sauté until golden. Add the diced onions and garlic, stir and cook over low heat until golden.

Stir in the minced or grated ginger, saffron, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds. Add the cubed lamb pieces and stir to make sure everything is coated with the onion, garlic and spices. Sauté for 4 minutes.

Next pour enough water in to cover the meat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender.

Lamb with Onion and Spices

Add the dates, apricots and orange peel, stir to mix and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Slice the orange in half and juice it into a small bowl. 

Stir in the honey, Ras-el-Hanout and orange juice. Simmer another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Start with ½ teaspoon salt, and adjust to taste.

The sauce should be thick. If it's too thin, allow to simmer and thicken with lid off for 5 minutes, or add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Rough chop the cilantro.

Top with chopped cilantro and serve along side couscous or brown rice.

Adapted from: https://keviniscooking.com/lamb-tagine-dates-apricots-honey/

How to Make Couscous

Boil the water with salt and olive oil or butter in medium saucepan.

Place dry couscous in glass serving bowl. Once water is boiling pour over couscous. Stir once with a fork or spoon. Cover with a lid or plate. Let steam for at least 5 minutes, or until grains are soft.

Fluff with a fork and serve hot.

*Alternatively, you can add raisins, spices and/or slivered, blanched almonds to the couscous before adding the water.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

Freeze 2 servings of this for another week within a month or so. Place in glass mason jar with about 1 inch of space at top. Set lid loosely on top. Once contents are frozen, tighten the lid.

Make sure to label with name of dish and date.

Cook fresh couscous or rice to serve with it when you thaw and reheat.