Sunday, March 01, 2009

Tajine of Lamb with Dried Apricot and Pistachios **

Maw and Paw are back on the cooking scene! :-))
This is our new favorite tajine recipe. We found it on L'Atelier Vert, and this is a slightly modified version of a lamb tajine recipe that originally contained hazelnuts and fresh apricots.

Serves 5

1 kg. lamb shoulder or leg, trimmed of fat, deboned and cut into 5cm chunks
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots, sliced 1cm thick
2-3 tablespoons peanut oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
2 teaspoons turmeric (replace with saffron if possible)
2cm piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced, or 2 teaspoons ginger paste
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon harissa
about 50ml white wine
2 bay leafs, a few sprigs of parsley
3-4 cups of water
1 cube of stock
12 dried apricots, halved
3 tablespoons pistachios, without shell (half of it reduced to a powder, the other half slightly crushed)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
Salt to taste

Grind the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and black pepper in a mortar or spice grinder. Combine with turmeric and cinnamon. Use about half of this mixture to rub into the meat; return the spiced meat to the refrigerator for a couple of hours (This step may be done the day before).

Heat the peanut or olive oil over medium heat in a wok pan. Brown the meat slowly and thoroughly on all sides. Remove the meat to a platter and reserve.
In a large casserole, add a few tablespoons of oil and sauté the onion for 5-10min over medium heat (they shouldn't get dark). Add crushed garlic, the carrots, the remaining half of the spice mix, ginger, harissa, honey, and continue stirring for a couple of minutes to coat the vegetables with the spices. Deglaze with white wine, and add the lamb and the pistachio powder to the pan. Add salt to taste. Pour enough water to just cover the meat, and add the cube stock, bay leafs, parsley, and apricots . Bring to the boiling point, then reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer for about two hours, until the meat is meltingly tender. If the sauce is still too liquid you can remove the lid for 10-15min.

Before serving, incorporate the chopped fresh coriander to the casserole. In a frying pan, roast the crushed pistachios without oil for a few minutes, and sprinkle them on the meat. Serve with plain couscous, and a salad.

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