lamb tagine

Fragrant Tagine with Prunes and Almonds from Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys

We made this with rabbit.  We used two whole rabbits and it was delicious.  You can also use a large chicken cut up.  The cooking time is shorter for either and you should check it at 1 1/2 hours.

For the Tagine
6 pounds of lamb shanks or 4 pounds of boneless lamb should trimmed of fat
salt and pepper
2 tblsp butter
2 medium onions thickly sliced
pinch of saffron threads
6 garlic cloves chopped
1 2-in piece of ginger peeled and slivered
1 small cinnamon stick
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tblsp ground ginger
2 tsp cayenne
1 cup golden raisins
2 cups pitted prunes
4 cups chicken broth or water
1 cup tomato puree

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Season lamb generous with salt and pepper and set aside.  Melt butter in large skillet.  Add onions and spring with little salt and crumble the saffron over them.  Stew gently for about 5 minutes or until slightly softened.  Remove from heat and stir in garlic, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, coriander, cumin seeds, powered ginger and cayenne.  Add raisins and half the prunes.

Put lamb or other meat in dutch oven and spread onion mixture over.  Add the broth and tomato puree and cover pot with foil and tight fitting lid and bake for 2 hours.  Remove foil and add second half of prunes and submerge them in the liquid.  Raise heat to 400 degrees and return to oven uncovered for about 15 minutes to let meat brown a bit.  Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.  Then skim off any fat.  If sauce seems thin reduce in a saucepan.  If making ahead, stop here.

For the Garnish
1 tblsp butter
1 cup blanched whole almonds
large pinch of salt
small pinch of sugar

Just before serving, fry almonds for garnish in the butter until golden and drain on paper towels then sprinkle with salt and sugar.