Although I would love to be the proud owner of a tagine, a special cooking pot with origins in Morocco, at this point in my life, I don't have the funds or space for this utilitarian cooking vessel. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a homemade tagine every now and then — I simply use my slow cooker to braise the meat for a long period of time. This lamb version is my current favorite tagine. It combines chunks of savory lamb shoulder with aromatic spices (like cumin, cinnamon, and saffron), sweet dates, and lots of broth. The resulting dish is an exotic blend of flavors and textures that's ideal for entertaining. Get the surprisingly simple recipe after the jump.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds lamb shoulder meat, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
3 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of saffron threads
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1 cup pitted dates, quarters
1/4 cup harissa, optional, for heat
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Couscous, optional for serving
- Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a large ziploc-top plastic bag. Add the meat, toss to coat, and shake off any excess flour.
- Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the meat a few pieces at a time and brown on all sides. Transfer the browned meat to the insert of a 5-7 quart slow cooker.
- Add the remaining oil to the same skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and saffron and saute until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the chicken broth into the skillet and heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer the contents of the skillet to the slow cooker and stir in the beef broth and dates. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, until the lamb is tender. Skim off any fat from the top of the sauce and stir in the harissa and cilantro. Serve warm from the slow cooker with couscous, if desired.
- Main Dishes, Lamb