Prep 20 mins
Cook 2 hrs
This was in the New York Times last week and I haven't tried it yet, but it's on my list.
- 4 lbs bone-in lamb shoulder or 4 lbs lamb necks or 2 1⁄4 lbs boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 large Spanish onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 cinnamon sticks, each 2 inches long
- 1 pinch crumbled saffron
- 1 1⁄4 cups dried apricots, sliced
- 1 cup cracked green olives, pitted and sliced if desired
- 2 -4 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄3 cup sliced almonds
- cooked couscous, for serving
- chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Trim excess fat off lamb. Put meat in a deep Dutch oven or cast-iron pot with the garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika, ginger and cumin. Rub spices and garlic evenly all over meat.
- Thinly slice onions, then mince enough of them to yield 1/2 cup. Add minced onion to pot with lamb; reserve onion slices.
- Place pot over high heat and let cook, turning meat on all sides, until spices release their scent, about 3 minutes. You need not brown meat. Add 3 cups water to pot (it should come 3/4 of the way up lamb), along with cinnamon and saffron. Bring to a simmer, then cover pot and transfer to oven. Let braise for 45 minutes.
- Turn meat, then top with onion slices. Cover pot and braise for another 45 minutes to an hour, or until lamb is very tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl, leaving broth and onions in pot.
- Place pot on stove over high heat and add 3/4 cup apricots and the olives. Simmer broth until it reduces by a third and thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return lamb to pot and keep warm until serving. (Tagine can be prepared 4 days ahead; chill, then remove fat and reheat before serving.).
- To serve, chop remaining 1/2 cup apricot slices. In a small skillet, melt butter. Add almonds and cook until well browned and toasted, about 2 minutes. Put couscous in a serving bowl and top with almonds and butter and chopped apricots. Pile tagine in center of couscous and garnish with herbs.