Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Springing and Cooks Cooking

Met the lovely Elizabeth from About New York and The House in Marrakesh for tea yesterday and had a nice stroll through the Green Market where we both agreed Spring is in the air but it's a little early here to plant herbs...she inspired me to make tagine for dinner...I ordered a gorgeous clay tagine as soon as I got back from Morocco so we could relive some of the delicious meals we had there. We are sentimental like that...for food.

I decided to make Lamb with Caramelized Shallots, Honey, Dates and Almonds...a romantic sounding meal for a chilly spring Monday, no? (OK, we didn't eat 'til 10 pm but who's counting?) Picked up some organic lamb shoulder and the wonderfully oily Marcona almonds from Whole Foods...I had to ask Elizabeth how the hell to use this gorgeous thing...she told me to brown the meat on the stovetop, add a little water and spices and then let it stew for a few hours. So that's what we did. There were a few more steps in the middle but the flavors were great...taking us back a few weeks back to Marrakesh...

Bonbon's Lamb Tagine
with Caramelized Shallots, Honey, Dates & Almonds

3 lbs. lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into a few pieces
1 onion, grated or chopped very fine
olive oil
1 tsp fresh grated ginger or ground
1 small cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground
1/2 tsp saffron
black pepper and salt
1 pound shallots or cippolini onions (or both!)
1 tsp honey
10 dried dates
handful of almonds or better yet, marcona almonds
1 Tbs. chopped parsley and cilantro

This was kind of a synthesis of a few recipes...You don't need the fancy shmancy clay tagine to pull this off although it really does impart a fantastic earthy flavor to the dish--you can come over if you want to try it! Otherwise a nice sturdy casserole pot will work. This recipe is a little sweet for some people so I'd say if you don't want it too sweet either don't add the dates or don't add the honey!

-Heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in a large casserole pot over medium-high heat and brown lamb. Add grated onions and stir until onions seem soft. Add ginger, cinnamon, saffron, a pinch of salt and a generous crack of fresh black pepper (which will counter the sweetness of the honey yet to be added). Add just enough water to barely cover. Stir and lower heat.
-Simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours over low heat, stirring and turning lamb to prevent sticking sometimes.

-Meanwhile, parboil shallots or cipollinis in boiling water for 5 minutes, then run under cold water and peel (they should peel easily!) Sauté slowly in olive oil in a shallow pan until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Your house will smell great.
-After the lamb has cooked for 1 and 1/2 hours, add caramelized onions and the honey and another crack of black pepper. You may have to add more water and keep stirring to prevent sticking.
-After 20 minutes add the dates!
Cook for another 10 minutes and garnish with parsley.

Serve with couscous or roasted potatoes and some good crusty bread and enjoy!


The Clever Pup said...

Wow, I'm going to have to "favourite" this one. I received a serving tagine for Christmas and I need some recipes to put in it. Why don't you gals come over to my place to have a look.


Elizabeth said...

Yum yum!
I love lamb but R. won't eat it.....
This looks quite delicious.
Foodmemories of Morocco are strong.
Wish we could get those perfect olives here.
R. is talking of going back to Morocco next winter.
Sounds good to me.

onesilentwinter said...

Oh how i love cooking in a tangine! I do enjoy these post!

Unknown said...

mmm...looks and sounds amazing. I think we were all in the mood for a hearty meal last night...I made a delicious (IMHO) bolognese sauce with lots of fresh tomato and onion and garlic. :)

cookworm said...

It looks gorgeous; I just love tagine. So jealous of your Moroccan trip...I hope it was marvelous!

evencleveland said...

Oh, Deb. This looks amazing.

I'm the same way about food ... right now, I am considering trying to learn to bake my own croissant, because my heart already misses Paris ...

(PS - CONGRATULATIONS on the UO collaboration. So, so, so happy for you!)

artycho said...

We have got the dyed eggs ready to paint for Easter too!

please sir said...

Looks like a great evening - your clay tagine is so neat!

AC said...

delightful and delicious!

Julia said...

Those pansies are so bright! I love that you gave us this recipe. There's a seen from the new Sabrina that shows this type of food and I've always wondered about it :) Thank you!

cindy* said...

the tangine looks fantastic...yum! and who doesn't get nostalgic for food? (we all know i do!) i love the flowers and colorful eggs...and the lanterns on the table. i guess i just love it all...

hmstrjam said...

this looks absolutely delicious! so fun!

molly said...

thank you for telling us that you didn't eat until 10pm...i always feel so overwhelmed at what everyone else is accomplishing and that they're doing it in this finite amt of time and what am i doing and oh....well, anyhoo, good to know reality falls in there somewhere too.

MyMyMichl said...

I would love to have a tagine, but my tiny kitchen is cluttered as it is. Can anyone tell me what makes food cooked in a tagine taste differently than say, a pot?