A Spicy Tagine on a cold day

Last week we had the shortest fall I remember. It lasted about 4 hours on Thursday afternoon! Over the following days on social media I saw a plethora of posts about making chili, soups and stews. People were preparing everything from venison to white chili, vegetable soups (including cream of broccoli) and loaded potato soups, and beef stew. What no Lamb?

A Tagine in a Tagine?

We love Lamb around the iCook home especially if it’s prepared in some exotic dish, rich with savory spices. This week, I decided to break out my rarely used Tagine and prepare a Lamb Tagine with green olives and lemon. Confused? I was too until I read that a Tagine is the name of the special cooking vessel or pot used in many African and middle eastern cultures. It’s also the name of the dish that is prepared in the pot. You can also make this dish in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot if you don’t have a Tagine.

Stretch your dollar

Lamb is an expensive meat, so having it for dinner is a real treat at our home. In fact, I think the last time we had lamb at home was our Valentine’s dinner which includes a main course of lamb chops. But it is possible to find a leg of lamb at a reasonable price, around $6 to $7 per pound. When I do, I buy it even if it means freezing it for use later.

I typically get two or three meals out of a medium sized (4 to 5 LB) leg which in the end is a good way to stretch your dollar. One way to do that is to reduce or scale down recipes to fit your needs. This is easy to do with stews as the meat is cut into chunks. I halved today’s recipe because we didn’t need 8 servings.

Stew basics

Typically, when preparing a stew, one of the first steps is to brown the meat. Today’s recipe skips that step. It relies on marinating and slow cooking to yield a flavorful dish with meat that has a melt in your mouth texture. I paired this dish with couscous, but you could easily serve with flat bread. Looking for some additional vegetables? A green salad with a simple vinaigrette would also work well.

Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.

Lamb Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon

Courtesy of Ethan Stowell and Food and Wine

Serves 8

  • ¼ cup extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced (or about 3 to 3 ½ TBSP minced garlic)
  • Two 2 ½ inch strips of lemon zest
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • One 3-inch long cinnamon stick
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 ½ LBS boneless lamb shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 Large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 2 cups pitted green Picoline olives, rinsed
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, ginger, paprika, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, cloves, saffron, cinnamon stick and 1 TBSP of Kosher salt. Add the lamb and toss to coat. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours.

Scrape the lamb and spices into a tagine or medium enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven; discard the lemon zest. Add the water, carrots, and onion and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the lamb is very tender, about 2 hours.

Spoon off the fat from the broth. Stir in the olives, season with salt and cook for two minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, cilantro and lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Click Here to download a printable PDF of the recipes for this week!