Prep 1 hr
Cook 2 hrs
In this recipe, Jamie Oliver meets Nigella Laswon. His Spiced Lamb Stew with Walnuts and Pomegranate is transformed into a tagine, which was inspired by her Lamb Tagine with Dates and Pomegranate. I had no dates, so to balance out the sourness of the pomegranate, I used honey. It needed far more heat for my own preference. But with a little Harissa (prepared) on the side with a tangy Onion-Pomegranate Relish and some fluffed couscous, this was good and so very unusual. I had pondered grinding the walnuts after toasting them so they would act more as a thickener, but I liked the different texture and crunch with them being chopped. I found pomegranates that were reasonably priced at a nearby market. But since I was unable to extract very much juice from them, I purchased pomegranate juice at Trader Joe's. I have heard on foodie-type TV shows that the way an onion is sliced affects its flavor. Seems the flavor is more acrid when sliced horizontally, so I suggest slicing vertically.
- 2 lbs lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil or 2 -3 tablespoons walnut oil
- 3 red onions, very thinly and vertically sliced (2 onions are used in the tagine, and 1 is used in the onion-pomegranate relish)
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted then chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 1⁄2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 pomegranates, juiced and seeded
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 2 limes, juice of
- 2 cups fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Dredge lamb in flour.
- Heat walnut oil or olive oil in tajine or Dutch oven with tighlly fitting lid. Once oil is hot, add the lamb and season generously with salt and pepper. Brown lamb on all sides and remove from pan.
- Meanwhile toast walnuts in preheated oven (350 degrees F) for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool, then chop.
- Add 2/3s of the onions and all of the carrot and celery to the tajine and saute until softened. (Since 1 onion is used to make the relish, only 2 onions are used in this stage) Next add the finely minced garlic and ginger and saute a few minutes longer. Then add ground cumin, turmeric, and allspice, stirring well to combine all ingredients. Return lamb to the pan, adding the toasted chopped walnuts. Continue to stir, allowing all flavors to marry.
- Add in 2 cups pomegranate juice, cinnamon stick, and enough chicken broth to cover the meat. (You might not need the whole cup). Also add the bay leaves. (I had some curry leaves so used those instead of bay leaves). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover with a tightly fitting lid. Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally, until lamb has become tender. If it becomes too dry during cooking, add more liquid. If there is too much liquid, then simmer uncovered.
- Meanwhile make the Onion-Pomegranate Relish: Place remaining thinly sliced onion in a bowl. Add the lime juice and ~ 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, then allow to stand one hour. Drain the onions, discarding all the liquid. This step takes the "bite" out the onion. Add pomegranate seeds to taste, a dash of salt, and chopped cilantro, also to taste.
- Once lamb is tender, add honey. Start with 1/4 cup, then increase according to taste. Simmer gently, long enough for the honey to infuse throughout the lamb tajine. Keep in mind, however, that honey burns easily and can create a bitter taste. (If I had dates on hand, they would have been added early on and the honey would have been omitted.).
- Serve over couscous, garnished generously with pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro and the Harissa and Onion-Pomegranate Relish on the side. (Harissa is a chile-based condiment often used with Middle Eastern and Northern Africa cuisine. Although I have made it in the past, I just used what I had on hand -- something I had purchased from T J Maxx.).