A couple of weeks before my birthday in March, I told my husband that I was on the lookout for a tagine. And not just any tagine, but a traditionally decorated clay tagine. He replied, "Really?" And I went on to explain that perhaps I would start a clay vessel collection. I already have a cazuela from Spain and a baeckoeffe turine from France. I thought the next addition should be a tagine. Lo and behold, guess what I got for my birthday--the beautiful tagine in these photos! And the funny part is that he had already ordered it before I mentioned I wanted one. He's quite a husband! :-)
|The beautiful Moroccan tagine|
I served this tagine with a traditional bed of couscous and some Moroccan carrots on the side. (I'll post about these later this week.) This is definitely a time consuming, if simple, dish to make, so plan accordingly--but I'll be looking for every excuse I can to use this special birthday gift!
Lamb and Fennel TagineAlthough my 11 month old doesn't understand the concept of an elegant Easter dinner, he sure did enjoy it!
Adapted from Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco
Serves 6-8 easily
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 1/2 to 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks and trimmed of excess fat
1 clove garlic, smashed1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
4 small fennel bulbs
1 preserved lemon, or one lemon plus 1 Tbl olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/8 cup lemon juice
In the base of a tagine or a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. (If using a tagine, make sure to use a diffuser.) Saute the onions until translucent. Add the salt, pepper, ginger, saffron and turmeric and stir for one minute. Add the lamb, garlic, cilantro and one cup of water and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over medium to low heat (keep at just a simmer) for 1 1/2 hours. Stir every so often and add water if necessary.
While the lamb is cooking, prepare the lemons if you do not have preserved lemon. Slice the lemon into thin rounds. Heat about one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Add the lemon slices and one teaspoon each of salt and sugar. Cook, stirring often, until the lemons soften and start to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. (If using preserved a preserved lemon, quarter the lemon.)
Trim the tops off of the fennel bulbs and quarter them lengthwise. Cut into 1-2 inch pieces. Add to the lamb after it has cooked 1 1/2 hours. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the lemons, olives and lemon juice and stir well. Cook, covered, for another 10 minutes or until the fennel is tender. Taste and add salt or pepper to taste.
Serve in the tagine or in a large bowl with couscous. Serve hot.
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