If you’re as fussy about trimming the meat as I am, lamb stews can be a lot of work. I like to pick up a boneless butterflied half-leg of lamb, cut it into nicely trimmed cubes (I’ll get about one pound), and freeze it. I’ll repeat the process until I have enough to make something good, like Fajoom, or this Moroccan tagine.
My Aunt Diane served this incredibly delicious stew to my husband and me after one of our coast-to-coast flights to visit her and my uncle in California. I thought I’d pick around the prunes, but one taste and I ate it all. The blend of spices is sublime; none dominate the dish. I’ve fine-tuned the ingredients a tad, but this is essentially Diane’s recipe.
MOROCCAN LAMB TAGINE
(Lamb Stew with Prunes)¼ cup butter (½ stick)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. powdered saffron (6-0.1g pkgs.)
¼ tsp. turmeric
3 lbs. boneless leg of lamb cut in 1-inch cubes
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups chicken broth
¼ cup minced parsley
2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cups pitted prunes (9-oz. pkg.)
2 Tbs. honey
Salt and pepper
Toasted sesame seeds
1. Bring chicken broth to simmer in a small pan. Heat butter and olive oil in a deep frying pan over low heat. Add cinnamon, ground ginger, saffron and turmeric. Stir mixture well.
2. Add lamb cubes, tossing to coat with spice mixture and 1 tsp. salt. Increase heat to medium low. Cook lamb, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until lamb is browned well.
3. Add broth, parsley, and cilantro. Bring mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in onions. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. (Onions will melt into the sauce.)
5. Stir in prunes and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. If more sauce is desired, add more chicken broth.
6. Serve tagine alone, with/over Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts, or with rice pilaf. Garnish dish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, if desired. Serves 6.