Here is a picture of my favorite tagine from the Chef & Artist Meal we served at bread&cup last Saturday evening. Local artist Seth Green crafted this beautiful piece on the left. I commented that it looked like a mosque, and that’s when I found out some of his inspiration has come from studying Arab architecture.
The Slow Meal is my favorite aspect of preparation and service in our restaurant. It allows us to be focused and deliberate toward bringing the best we can offer, and in turn the guest receives more attention, and I believe a more satisfying experience.
The tagine is the epitome of slow food, which made it a perfect centerpiece for this special meal. Uncovering a tagine at the table provides a little culinary drama, as the built up steam is released and the aroma of cinnamon and saffron dominate the airspace like a squadron of F-15’s.
Tagine is fairly simple to prepare. Just like in all cooking, good quality ingredients are the first step to a fine meal. Start with these and you are well on your way.
Lamb Tagine with Dried Fruit and Honey
- 3 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 2” chunks
- 1 cup water
- 1 large onion, coarsely grated (1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 t
- ½ t ground ginger
- 4-5 crumbled saffron threads
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup dried apricots
- ½ cup whole almonds
- ½ cup dried tomatoes
In sauté pan, sear lamb in peanut oil over high heat. When lightly brown, transfer to tagine base and set aside. Deglaze pan with water, scraping the caramelized bits into a brown sauce. Pour over lamb.
Sweat onions and garlic in sauté pan on medium heat for 4-5 min. Add juice, honey, cinnamon, ginger and saffron. Bring to simmer. Puree in blender or food processor until very smooth. Pour liquid over lamb in tagine base. Cover and slowly cook for 3hrs at a low heat (275-300). Check for tenderness of lamb with a fork. Meat should pull apart easily. Sprinkle on raisins, apricots, almonds and tomatoes on top and bake for 30 more minutes.
Serve over warm rice or couscous. Garnish with toasted coconut and chopped cilantro.