Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricots

I recently came across the below recipe for lamb tagine while flipping through Bon Appetit magazine at the airport. The recipe reminded me of a great halibut tagine dish that I had at a cooking class in Sonoma and I knew I had to give the recipe a try. It was beyond good. Brady and I absolutely loved this recipe. I know lamb sounds a little intimidating and expensive but this dish was so cheap and easy to make. I made the whole dish for under $20 and while it may cook for awhile (almost 2 hours), all you have to do is brown the meat and throw everything in the pot to cook and 2 hours later you have a restaurant quality dish.

One thing to point out, Ras-el-Hanout might be a challenge to find. I looked at Whole Foods where I bought the lamb and they didn't have it. I ended up having to go to a spice shop to buy the Moroccan spice blend. It can be made at home if you have a spice mill but if you have a spice shop around you I think that's the best way to go. I got a small baggie for about $2 plus it was fun to check out all of the spices available.

Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricots
** adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4
Prep/Cook Time: 2 hours

1 can chickpeas
4 garlic cloves (2 whole, 2 chopped)
2 T. olive oil
1.5 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 large onion, diced
3 tsp Ras-el-Hanout spice blend
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp chopped peeled ginger
1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juices
2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken stock
1/4 cup halved dried apricots
steamed couscous
chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large heavy pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Working in a couple batches, brown lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a bowl and set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pot; reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and saute until soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, Ras-el-Hanout, cinnamon and ginger. Stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and lamb and any juices from the lamb. Bring to boil. Add the stock and return to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until lamb is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.

Stir in chickpeas and apricots; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon couscous into bowls and spoon lamb over top. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

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