Toasted nuts and cilantro add the final touches to this easy, low-fat spicy Lamb Tagine with Prunes recipe. No tagine? Use another heavy pot in its place.
The story behind Lamb Tagine with Prunes
I love foods from everywhere. Don't ask me to name a specific country or cuisine that is my favorite, food is an adventure and I plan to keep on exploring the world until the day I die.
Ever since I purchased my tagine, I've had a love for Moroccan food and the spices, fruits, and nuts used in Moroccan cooking. This recipe for Lamb Tagine with Prunes is slightly different than the norm as it doesn't use 100 different spices. Only five of them. Of course one of the spices I used was Ras El Harnout*, a blend of fourteen different spices, so maybe that's a bit of a cheat. If so, I cheat away.
One of the things I love the most about the internet is how we can explore foods from all over the world. Don't have the ingredient at a store nearby, more than likely you can order it from an online source.
Variety is the spice of life. Spices keep life interesting.
If you are not a big fan of lamb, I think you could safely use beef or pork for this recipe. You do need something with a little bit of connective tissue otherwise the meat will be dry. So pork tenderloin or beef sirloin is not going to make the cut, look for a pork shoulder or rump roast; those would work nicely.
While the original recipe I looked at called for dates, I used prunes instead. Prunes added the necessary sweetness, without being overly sweet. Just a nice balance of sweet and spice. Dried apricots would have worked as well.
Finish the dish off with some toasted almonds and pistachios and دعونا أكل (Let's eat)
*Ras El Hanout is a blend of Coriander Seeds, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Cumin Seeds, Spearmint, Chili, Ginger, Cardamon, Cloves, Mace, Rose Petals and Salt. You can find it in most stores, specialty spice shops, or online.
LindySez: We served this flavorful dish with Fragrant Basmati Rice and a lovely Cotes du Rhone a red wine from the Rhone region of France made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignane, Counoise and Mourvèdre grapes varieties. The wine's dark fruit played nicely with the rich flavors of the meat and sweetness of the prune.
Lamb Tagine with Prunes
- 1 - 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil with a pat of butter
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Raj el Hanout
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 pound lean lamb from the shoulder neck or leg, cut into bite-sized pieces, all visible fat removed
- 4 - 6 ounces ready to eat pitted prunes
- Water as needed
- 2 - 3 tablespoons roasted slivered almonds
- 1 - 2 tablespoons roasted shelled salted pistachios
- ½ cup cilantro leaves optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Heat the ghee in a tagine, heavy-based pot or Dutch oven; stir in the onions and sauté until just beginning to brown. Stir in the turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, Raj el Hanout, and cayenne pepper then add the meat. Stir the meat into the onions until it is all well coated with the spice mixture, then add water to almost cover the meat; bring to a simmer; cover and simmer gently for about 1 ½ hours (you could also cook in a low 325°F oven). Add the prunes to the pot, stir, and add water if necessary. Resume cooking for another 30 minutes. Season generously with freshly ground pepper. Reduce the sauce until fairly thick. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt if necessary.
- To Serve: Top with the nuts and cilantro. Serve with rice or couscous.