Friday, December 20, 2013

Lunch Week 43: Moroccan Lamb Tagine

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Moroccan Lamb Tagine
I was getting tired of the same ol' flavors of Thanksgiving by now. I needed something extremely different. Something with spices, something foreign. Something like Moroccan lamb tagine! It's not a spicy dish but it has a lot of spices. It's braised until the leg of lamb is so tender and soft. It's full of vegetables and fruit. It core warming. It's what you want to eat in the winter.

I start out with a leg of lamb that I cut into chunks. No need to marinate this before hand because it's going to braise for hours. I seared the lamb in a hot large pan with lots of spices like coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, paprika, cardamon, ginger, and tumeric.

When the pieces are browned, I added half the onions and sauteed those until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Then add water, more cinnamon (this time in the form of sticks), ginger, and saffron. Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer for 1.5 hours, covered.

Then add diced tomatoes (I used canned), chick peas, carrots, more onions, raisins, and parsley. Mix well and simmer slightly covered for another 30 minutes. Then taste for seasoning.

At the very end off the heat, add more parsley and toasted almonds if you prefer. This lunch is best serve over couscous or even rice. I'm trying to limit my carbs so I ate it as is.

The flavor was so good. Spices and sweetness all around, tender lamb with its slight funk, and great textures all around. I wouldn't definitely make this again. And since it was a one pot meal, it was fairly easy too.

My recipe below is adapted from's recipe for Lamb Tagine with Tomatoes and Caramelized Sweet Onions and Ras-El-Hanout

Moroccan Lamb Tagine
Makes 10 servings

Ingredients for Tagine
4 large onions, chopped and divided
4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp ras el hanout (recipe below)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2-28oz cans diced tomatoes
2-16oz cans chick peas
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped and divided
2 cups golden raisins
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
Cooked couscous or rice for serving (optional)

Ingredients for Ras El Hanout
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1. Heat oil in large pot on high. Sear lamb with ras el hanout spices until browned all over. Add half of onions and sautee until softened. Add enough water to just cover lamb and onions. Bring to boil then lower temperature to a simmer. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and saffron. Let simmer for 1 1/2 hours, covered.
2. Remove cinnamon sticks. Add diced tomatoes (juices and all), rest of onions, chickpeas, half of the parsley, raisins. Mix well. Let simmer, slightly covered for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add rest of parsley. Serve over couscous or rice. Garnish with toasted almonds.

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