Lamb tagine recipe

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The two intoxicating flavor traditions in Morocco aromatic spices and fruits are combined in this subtle, succulent, and complex recipe built upon a foundation of fork-tender braised lamb. When you order a tagine in a Moroccan restaurant, it is most often served in an impressive deep clay plate with a cover shaped like a large conical hat also called a tagine. Very exotic, very delicious true Moroccan comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup imported black olives such as Gaeta, Kalamata, or Niçoise, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Fluffy Couscous or Rutabaga and Carrot Whip, for serving
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
How to Make It
  1. Place the lamb in a large nonreactive bowl and add the orange juice, vinegar, and garlic. Toss to combine. Let the lamb marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning the pieces once or twice. Then drain the lamb, reserving the marinade.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. Add the lamb, in batches, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes per batch, adding more oil as needed.
  3. As the lamb is browned, remove the pieces to another bowl. Set the lamb aside. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion and carrots to the casserole. Adding more oil if necessary, cook the vegetables until softened, about 8 minutes. Then stir in the saffron, cumin, thyme, and coriander and cook over low heat for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, prunes, wine, and the reserved marinade. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Return the lamb to the casserole and add the tomatoes and olives. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1¼ hours. Stir in the lemon juice (this brightens the flavors). Serve over couscous, garnished with the mint.
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