Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lamb, Apricot, and Olive Tagine

Back in September I bought some ground lamb on a bit of a whim, then couldn't settle on a recipe special enough to use said lamb (it's not cheap, you know). So into the freezer it went, and there it stayed until last week when I discovered this Slow-Cooker Lamb, Apricot, and Olive Tagine recipe from Real Simple. I'd never heard of tagine, it sounded like a really interesting combination of flavors, and I thought that using a slow cooker might be good in case the lamb was freezer burned.

Not the most photogenic dish, but very tasty!

To my surprise, the meat was not freezer burned (points for HEB packaging!). And the flavors were, in fact, interesting and incredible! I also just Googled "tagine" (also "tajine"), and it's a Moroccan dish named after the unique pot it's traditionally cooked in. There's also Tunisian tagine, but it's very different and resembles a frittata. Who knew?

I followed the recipe almost exactly, though I used ground lamb rather than 1-inch pieces. I also decreased the olives a tad since green olives aren't my favorite. And I left out the pistachios.

The original recipe says it serves 4, but you can easily do smaller portions and get more servings out of this. In fact, it's pretty rich, so I've been eating portions that are probably about half the size that Real Simple intends.  Smaller portions also helps make it more nutritious since this is not the lowest-calorie dish out there.

Slow-Cooker Lamb, Apricot, and Olive Tagine
Copied word-for-word from Real Simple

1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
1/2 cup pitted green olives
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup couscous
chopped pistachios, fresh cilantro leaves, and lemon wedges, for serving

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, mix together the lamb, carrots, onion, apricots, olives, garlic, flour, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ½ cup water.

Cover and cook until the lamb and vegetables are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).

Ten minutes before serving, cook the couscous according to the package directions. Serve the lamb on the couscous with the pistachios, cilantro, and lemon wedges.

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