May 30, 2013

Recipe: Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Sweet Pilaf

Since the minute we finished our kitchen, I have been cooking like a mad woman.
Eating has always been a favorite pastime of mine,
and I'm constantly inspired by my never ending wander list to not only travel, but to also experiment with different cuisines.
Last weekend Erik and I hosted my family over for dinner,
and I decided to go all out and prepare a full Moroccan feast.
I searched high and low for a legit recipe,
and finally settled on Emeril's classic concoctions found here and here.
I adapted the formula slightly, by using lamb shanks rather than a shoulder for example,
but overall was very pleased with how it all turned out.
The meat was practically falling off the bone it was so tender,
and the pilaf complimented the richness of the dish perfectly.
You can see my updated recipe after the jump.
Moroccan Lamb Tagine
-2 pounds lamb shanks
-1 teaspoon ground turmeric 
-1 teaspoon ground ginger 
-1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
-1 1/2 cups diced onions 
-3 large garlic cloves, minced 
-1 cup chicken broth 
-8 threads Spanish saffron, crushed 
-16 fresh cilantro sprigs, tied together with a cotton string 
-1 cup dried, pitted apricots 
-1/2 cup golden raisins 
-1 onion, halved and thinly sliced 
-2 tablespoons honey 
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
-Mint, for garnish 

Place lamb in a medium-sized bowl. Season the lamb with turmeric, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 

Heat a tagine or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and half of the seasoned lamb. Cook the lamb until browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the lamb from the pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and lamb. Return the seared lamb to the pan and add the diced onions. Cook, stirring to get the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, saffron, and cilantro bundle and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. 

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the apricots and raisins and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain and set the fruit aside. 

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat, place it on a clean plate, and keep warm. Bring the remaining liquid in the pan to a simmer. Add the sliced onions, apricots, raisins, honey, cinnamon, ground pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Return the liquid to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until mixture is slightly thickened. Add the cooked lamb back into the sauce and cook to heat through, about 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh mint. 
Sweet Pilaf
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/3 cup blanched whole almonds
-1 cup small diced onion
-1/2 cup small diced carrot
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 cup long grain rice
-3 cups chicken stock
-1/3 cup golden raisins
-2 teaspoons orange zest
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 1 1/2 quart oven-proof casserole dish. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the almonds until they are golden and become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and cinnamon and stir well, cooking for 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring to make sure all the kernels are coated with oil. Add the stock, raisins, orange zest and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil. Place the mixture into the casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the rice from the oven and place on a large platter. Serve with Moroccan lamb tagine.


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