Lamb Tagine

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    8

Appears in

Healthy Jewish Cooking

Healthy Jewish Cooking

By Steven Raichlen

Published 2000

  • About

Lamb has deep religious significance for Jews—particularly for the Jews of North Africa and the Middle and Near East. Being a spring food, lamb is the traditional fare of Passover. Lamb blood marked the doorways of the Israelites when the Angel of Death flew over to slay the firstborn sons of Egypt—an event commemorated by the lamb shank bone that appears on the Seder plate. A tagine is a lamb stew from North Africa—named for the conical earthenware dish in which it’s traditionally cooked. Serve this savory tagine over couscous. You’ll never again think about lamb in quite the same way.

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1½ to 2 Hours

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean leg of lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ pound turnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ pound parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ pound potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (preferably flat-leaf)
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon warm water
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ cup cooked chickpeas
  • Couscous, for serving
  • Harissa (North African hot sauce), for serving

Method

  1. Place the lamb in a mixing bowl and toss with the turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, pepper, and salt. Let marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot (preferably nonstick). Brown the lamb, working in several batches. This will take 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer the lamb to a platter with a slotted spoon. Pour out all but tablespoons fat.

  3. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons parsley and continue cooking rest of parsley until the onion begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes more.

  4. Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the water, cinnamon stick, and saffron. Gently simmer the lamb for 1 hour.

  5. Add the turnips, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. Simmer the tagine until the vegetables and lamb are very tender, about 30 minutes more. Add the raisins and chickpeas 10 minutes before the end. If the tagine starts to dry out (it should be quite soupy), add more water. The tagine should be highly seasoned; add salt or pepper as needed.

    Serve the tagine over couscous sprinkled with the remaining parsley and served with the with harissa as a condiment. (One traditional way to serve couscous is to stir the harissa into 1 cup of the tagine broth and spoon it over the lamb.)

356.8 CALORIES PER SERVING; 34.6 G PROTEIN; 11 G FAT; 3 G SATURATED FAT; 30.5 G CARBOHYDRATE; 530 MG SODIUM; 96.8 MG CHOLESTEROL