lamb and dried apricot tagine {ffwd}

Lamb Tagine

It’s hard to believe that French Fridays with Dorie has less than two dozen recipes left to complete cooking all the way through Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. Some of the ones left are amongst the less appealing, but there are still a smattering of recipes that are tempting, as with this week’s Lamb and Dried Apricot Tagine.

I’ve been a loyal participant, barely skipping any recipes. I do have a handful, about half a dozen, that I need to catch up on so that when we pass the finish line this spring, I will have a full sense of accomplishment about this project.

Lamb tagine is the perfect thing to make when the weather outside is frightful, and you don’t want to leave the house. When your kitchen smells like distant sunny places, you just know that dinner will be warm and hearty which makes it easier to get through a gray and dismal afternoon.

As with most stews, whether pedestrian or exotic, making tagine is simple, especially if you start with boneless meat. Alas, I can never find boneless lamb shoulder. Between the blades and joints, shoulders have many odd shaped bones and a ton of fat. So I just cranked up the podcast playlist on my phone and worked away with my knife. The perfect podcast was in my lineup: Dorie herself was being interviewed (along with Christine Muhlke, executive editor at Bon Appetit) on one of my new favorite shows, Radio Cherry Bombe with Julia Turshen from Heritage Radio.

That's a lot of onions!

That’s a lot of onions!

Once I’d transformed a pile of shoulder chops into a pile of boneless lamb chunks, the rest was smooth sailing. First, the lamb is browned. Then, the sauce gets started. Chopped onions and garlic are softened, canned tomatoes are added, then some stock. Finally, an array of Moroccan spices are stirred into the pot: a chile pepper, cracked coriander seeds, grated fresh ginger, a couple pinches of saffron, cumin, cinnamon, and some chopped cilantro.

Before...

Before…

Browned lamb and dried apricots are layered on top of the sauce before sealing up the pot and popping it in the oven. Now the hardest part is waiting for the fragrant pot to simmer and do its magic while the aroma from the oven makes you dream of a shopping expedition in a faraway souk.

And after...

And after…

And it is worth the wait. I served the tagine over couscous and sprinkled with more fresh cilantro and some toasted almonds. It was fantastic! I was able to continue my Moroccan fantasy over dinner.

Of course, anyone who follows my blog might anticipate how this went over with Howard, the man who won’t eat fruit in savory dishes. I was hopeful because his sister makes a delicious lamb stew with prunes which he has previously eaten and enjoyed. However, at our house, he picked the fruit out and added them to my plate. When I asked him how it liked it, he said, “Well, if you’d used carrots, I’d give it 5 stars, but with apricots, it only gets a 3.” That’s promising and a good idea for a future riff on this dish. Next time, I’ll try substituting some thickly sliced carrots for half of the apricots, adding a similar burst of orange color and, because I’m eating all the apricots, keep the proportion of fruit I consume the same. If serving to company, I would just add carrots and use the original amount of apricots.

To see what the other Doristas thought of the tagine, check out their links here. To make it yourself, the recipe can be found here or in the book.

Thanks to everyone for your delightful birthday wishes. With each thoughtful message received from my friends and family, my day was made that much more special. I enjoyed a multi-day celebration, filled with good company and delicious food. I LOVE birthdays, mine or anyone else’s!

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Posted on 12 December 2014, in French Fridays with Dorie, Lamb, Winter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. So glad you had a wonderful birthday celebration! You make this dis look far more appetizing than it sounds. It’s amazing that we are SO close to the end! This project has taken longer than college – LOL!

    • Longer than college? That has me laughing. I hadn’t thought about the time frame relative to that, but you are right. This has been quite another kind of education, hasn’t it?

  2. I was actually looking forward to this dish. I have all the ingredients sitting in my fridge. However, I had so many things to do after being away for two weeks, I settled on a pot of Red Kuri soup! I will be making the tagine this week…yours looks so yummy! Can’t wait to give it a try! I think I will even add some carrots for Bill!
    I love birthdays, too, Betsy! I now know why I find your personality so appealing…your a fellow Sagittarius!

  3. Yeah, Bill probably would have given it a 2. He ate it but found the sauce too exotic. And it was the sauce that was so heavenly!!!

    • That Bill! You definitely have a challenge on your hands. He seems less flexible in his food preferences than Howard. Yes, the sauce was heavenly!

  4. I used to listen to music while prepping in the kitchen, but in past year I’ve gotten an Audible account and now often find myself listening to a book while in the kitchen. I have learned that not all books work as audio books, but I’ve been listening to David Sedaris in the kitchen lately and loving it.

    • I think David Sedaris is hilarious. When I had a long commute to work, I used to listen to audio books on the ride, and you’re right, not all books work that way. I chose lighter reads where I could tune out for a few minutes while I was negotiating traffic and come back without feeling I missed something. Now I’m completely addicted to podcasts, my own personal station of talk radio.

  5. I need to look that podcast up. You got me hooked on The Food Seen!

    There was so much sauce to go around, you can definitely sneak in a sliced carrot or two!

    • Heritage Radio has so many different good shows. I have 4 on my regular lineup. Radio Cherry Bombe is currently my favorite of those 4. If you’re hooked on The Food Seen, you will love this new one. I suspect there are more that I’d like, but there’s only so much time…

      You got me hooked on All Songs Considered a few years back. I’m so much more current in knowing the music out there. And when I love something on the show, I buy the song. Howard has noticed that my taste in new music is similar to what I listened to back in college, so I guess it’s different bands, same sound. Still an advancement for me.

  6. I can’t believe we are so close to the end. Egads, I have to hurry to catch up. This was a
    wonderful recipe and we both loved it.

  7. I would chop my figure off if I listened to Sedaris while cooking. He makes me laugh too hard. Little tip on undesirable ingredients i.e. dried fruit etc… chop them really small. My kids didn’t even realize what they were eating. All they noticed was a sweet taste in the stew.

  8. Glad you had such a great birthday–and a happy belated birthday from me! The stew looks beautiful and I’m glad you all enjoyed it so much!

  9. I am glad that Howard kind of, sort of liked it:) I loved this dish and the weather although not frightful but as least wet made it even better. I look forward to finishing all the recipes with the group.

  10. Hahaha – Howard’s reaction is priceless! Happy belated birthday XO

  11. I still need to tackle salmon in a jar, and I made the same mussel recipe twice by mistake. Still need to make those up! Your tagine looks superb – I loved this, and would eat stew at any time of year.

  12. I was wondering how this would go over with Howard.
    I am 100% on recipes, as long as my adaptations count :-)
    Will have to have to check out those podcasts. They are all new to me. Right now I am hooked on Serial (from This American Life) and have been binge listening to Stuff You Missed in History Class after a few weeks away from my iPod.

  13. I love podcasts with This American Life and The Moth being my favorites. Perfect accompaniments for a long walk. I will check out Heritage Radio; I’m not familiar with it. That’s pretty funny that Howard would give it a 5 if you’d used carrots but only a 3 since its apricots. I plan to make it this week and I might use carrots and apricots.

  14. This tagine looks delicious!

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