Gluten-free, Meat and Poultry, Soups, Stews and Sandwiches

Lamb Apricot Tagine

Loreto September 5, 2019

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Lamb Apricot Tagine, an exotic yet flavorful dish which will tantalize your taste buds to no end and every bite will be a new surprising discovery! A vegetarian option available, with wonderful spiced tofu.

Song of the day: “La Beaute'” by Aymane Serhani

If you could only smell………..

Lamb Apricot Tagine, is a perfect dish any time of year. Its exotic aromas along with the depth and complexity of flavor will definitely raise an eyebrow at the lunch or dinner table!

 

What is that funny looking dish……….

I remember the first time I saw a Tagine dish, it spiked my curiosity and excitement to see just what to cook in this conical looking dish. 

When I discovered it was a Middle Eastern ware and saw what was being cooked, I was in all the way to try and make some of the wonderful spiced stews. What really sealed the deal in my quest to do a Tagine happened at the Expo in Milan. We stopped for a bite to eat in the Moroccan Pavilion. It was a lamb Tagine and the flavors just blew my mind. The urge to lick the bowl clean was strong, however, my politeness prevailed. This dish was fantastic and exciting, as a result, my taste buds were buzzing as my tongue and mouth were processing all spices, flavors, and textures!

Sharing is the beauty of food……………

Today I am so excited to share with you my latest accomplishment. It has been a long time coming, several years, as a matter of fact, however, better late than never is my motto. So without further ado, I give you my take on a Morrocan Lamb Apricot Tagine!

It’s all in the spice……………

What makes Tagine so wonderful is the blend of spices.  “Because it’s all about the spice, yes the spice…………no troubles………”

I used:

  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Cloves
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Chili, onion, and garlic powder
  • Curry
  • Paprika

Butcher or local grocery store………………

If you were to ask me where I like to buy my meat, especially lamb, I will tell you our butcher. I went to Acme meats and got these lovely leg shanks. My thought was how can I build flavor. As a result, I knew the bones and meat are the way to go because everyone knows that any meat with the bone really deepens the flavor of the sauce and meat. It also helps to keep the protein moist and tender. If you didn’t know that, you do now.

So, when making a dish like this stew or Tagine, this is a good cut of lamb to get! The result will be a tender delicious taste extravaganza!

Prepping the lamb for searing…………..

I used the spices in a dry rub, saving some for the stewing process. The aroma that is coming off the lamb as I rub all those spices into that beautiful meat has my foodie sense tingling causing my stomach to rumble. If that was not enough, look at that beautiful sear and that wonderful color. The desire to just take a bite now overcame me, however, once again, I am holding back because I have to get this into the oven and finish up the photos! 

Who would have thought………………….

I never would have thought to put apricots, raisins, and dates into a meaty stew, however, after tasting that Tagine in Milan and experienced the balance of spice to sweetness, inspiration was all mine!

Vegetarian is always and option………………

Since Nicoletta is vegetarian I did make up some spiced tofu. I cut up the tofu into cubes and dry rubbed it with the spice mix and there you have it. She can also enjoy a Tagine with me! Amour is a wonderful thing!

Back to the process………….

So the lamb and tofu are seared. Next comes the building of flavors. Onions, garlic, the spices, and olive oil in a pot to form the infusion. Firstly, in goes the lamb and in another dish the tofu. Secondly, some apricots, raisins, slivered almonds, some stewed tomatoes, the rest of the spice blend and some fresh parsley and coriander leaves also known as cilantro. Lastly, the vegetable stalk and this baby is ready for some slow cooking!

The kitchen smells amazing…………………

I love when I come down the stairs or walk into the kitchen from outside and smell all those exotic spices: curry, turmeric, cumin, and so much more dancing with my senses and evidently playing with my appetite! Consequently not being able to wait to try this and also Nicoletta’s vegetarian version! Gonna have to try it for seasoning, right?

If one bite could speak a thousand words……..

There is this complexity that simply tantalizes the taste buds in a most balanced way. I taste the richness of the sauce with the sweetness of the tomatoes and each spice offering diverse texture and flavor. Love how those spices of coriander, curry, chili, paprika and so much more just dance on my tongue. The morsels of dates and apricots are like candy to my heart, and the balance is just right. Not too spicy and not too sweet!

Beautiful surprises………

This stew offers some wonderful surprises of texture and flavor. Firstly the plump soft sweetness of the apricots, raisins, and dates, accompanied by the crunch of the slivered almonds. Secondly the freshness of parsley and cilantro, a nice finishing touch!

However, lastly, the tenderness and moistness of those lamb leg shanks and how that meat just falls off the bone. I truly believe the bone just deepens the flavor immensely and having some rice as a base is perfect.  The blank canvas for the colorful array of textures and colors of this amazing Lamb Apricot Tagine!

Final Thoughts………

I can’t speak for everyone, however, I have to say I absolutely love ethnic dishes like this. Am I an expert in Morrocan cuisine? Not at all, but I have a lot of passion and fondness for people and food.  When I smell those exotic spices, my hunger overcomes me, and it sparks a lot of emotion and desire. 

Want something different, something that will soothe the coolness of fall that it is upon us? Try this Lamb Apricot Tagine, It will bring a foodie smile to the table!

Enjoy!

Song of the day: “La Beaute'” by Aymane Serhani

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Lamb Apricot Tagine

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6-8 people 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: slow cooking
  • Cuisine: Moroccan

Description

Lamb Apricot Tagine, is a perfect dish any time of year. Its exotic aromas along with the depth and complexity of flavor will definitely raise an eyebrow at the lunch or dinner table!


Ingredients

Lamb:

  • 1 kg of fresh lamb leg shanks

Spice blend:

  • 46 dried cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp curry powder (green)
  • 1 Tbsp each of onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt

Sauce:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • a couple pats of butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 garlic scape chopped finely
  • 2 large fresh green onion chopped
  • 1 can good quality stewed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 46 madjoule dates halved
  • 46 dried apricots sliced
  • handful of  golden raisins
  • handful of almonds slivered

Garnish:

  • 2 Tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped

Instructions

Spice blend:

  1. Throw all the spices and seasoning into a bowl and blend well with a fork.

Lamb and tofu:

  1. Place lamb leg shanks into a  bowl and dust with some of the spice blend. Rub spices into the lamb until well coated.
  2. Reserve some of the spice for the sauce.
  3. Heat up some sesame oil and olive oil in a saute pan. Place in spiced lamb and sear on all sides about 1-2 minutes a side.
  4. When  the lamb and tofu are seared, take out of pan and place on a dish.
  5. Use a bit of the vegetable stock to de-glaze the pan and reserve for sauce.

Sauce:

  1. In a deep cast pot heat up some sesame oil and olive oil. Toss in onions, garlic, and garlic scapes.  Saute for 3-4 minutes then add the reserved spices. Add in a couple pats of butter and stir cook for another minute or so.
  2. Toss in dates, apricots, raisins. Pour in stewed tomatoes, the juices from the de-glazed pan, and vegetable stock. Let simmer for about 5 minutes and toss and stir in almonds, then transfer to the tajine and place in the oven for 2-3 hours at around 250-280 degrees F.
  3. Take out of oven and serve right out of the tajine with some steamed rice.

Garnish:

  1. Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley and coriander leaves.

Notes

  1. If you want to make the vegetarian version, just substitute 500 grams of firm  tofu cubed instead of the lamb.
  2. You can also serve the tajine with some flat bread like pita, or something else.
  3. If you can’t find the dried apricots, or dates, use what you have or can find like dried figs or plums.
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24 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply SHANIKA September 5, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    This Lamb dish looks so amazing! I’m loving all the flavors and how easy it is to make. I also love that you can create this into a vegetarian option if you wanted to by using something like tofu, etc.

    • Loreto Nardelli
      Reply Loreto Nardelli September 12, 2019 at 11:23 am

      Thank you Shanika, This is definitely one to try, if you like bold bright flavors this is the one to try. Its rich and full of texture.
      Happy cooking!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Aleta September 5, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Oh my, this dish sounds absolutely fantastic! I love the story behind it, the herbs and spices sound incredible, especially with the way you talk about the flavour and aromas. Is there any way to make this dish without a tajine?

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Aleta, yes you can use a crock pot or heavy cast iron pot. Or even try with a slow cooker. Just follow the recipe and when it says put in tagine place it in slow cooker. You can cook this in a slow cooker at low temp for 4-6 hours. I hope that helps and Thank you for reading the post and checking out the recipe!
      Have a beautiful day!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Mama Maggie's Kitchen September 6, 2019 at 2:19 am

    This Lamb Apricot Tagine is really appetizing! I am starting to crave for this now. Got to have this and satisfy my taste buds.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      Lol. Cravings are a funny thing, and dishes like this don’t help. When I see it just reminds me of the aromas in our house and that rich flavor. Now I am craving some more of this. Thank you and enjoy the dish!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzy September 6, 2019 at 5:27 am

    This looks incredibly flavorful. I can see that sauce is delicious! I love sweet and savory dishes, so this sounds perfect.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Lizzy, Us too love the combinations of sweet and savory in that rich sauce! Perfect ethnic comfort food!Thanks for taking the time to check this recipe out!
      Have a great day!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Leslie September 7, 2019 at 8:43 am

    This looks like a classy party in your mouth. I’m impressed with the use of flavors used in this dish!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you Leslie. Love how you said classy party in your mouth. It is exactly that. Rich bold exotic flavors and those tender slow cooked textures equals pure deliciousness!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Veena Azmanov September 7, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Lovely looking dish. I am hungry for this superb Dinner. Flavorful and yum.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      Lol,Thank you, so glad you liked it. It is sure worth a try!
      Have a great week!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Rebecca Blackwell September 7, 2019 at 11:15 am

    I absolutely love that you’ve included instructions for a vegetarian version of this recipe. Some good friends of ours are coming over for dinner tomorrow. One of them is vegetarian and the other is not… I had no idea what I was going to make for them. Now I know – both versions of this! Thank you!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Hi Rebecca you are so welcome. Nicoletta is vegetarian so I always think of her when preparing food, plus I really like the vegetarian version too. The tofu was so tender and flavorful. Hope your friends enjoy this dish. Thanks for checking it out!
      Have fun cooking!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Kushigalu September 8, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Love the combination in this tagine. Looks so flavorful and delicious. Would love to try this soon.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 11:52 am

      Thank you Kushigalu, Cultural ethnic recipes are one of my passions. Love the colors and the aromas. Totally inspires me! Have fun trying this recipe. Would love to hear how you made out and what you think!
      Happy cooking!
      loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Sara September 8, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    What an incredible combination of flavors! I’ve never made tangine, but now I can’t wait to try something new. Looks absolutely delicious!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 11:50 am

      THank you, its always exciting to try new things and this tagine is such an easy recipe to follow and the textures and flavors are spot on. Can’t wait for you to try it!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Mimi September 9, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Mmmmmm all of those spices are so good together. Moroccan and Tunisian – all of the cuisines of Northern Africa are just stunning and so full of flavor. This recipe is perfect. Did you know that the tagine lid actually serves a purpose? I had always thought it was just a classic design element, but the chimney keeps the heat in, and allows condensation to drip back into the cooking food.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 11:34 am

      Hi Mimi, yes `an absolute ingenious design that helps elevate and deepen the flavors of whatever is cooking in a tagine. I love these types of dishes. It ignites such passion and love inside of me. I hope it comes through in the flavor and presentation. Thank you for commenting and checking out this post!
      Happy cooking!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Alisha Rodrigues September 9, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    I’ve never thought of a combination like this one. Lamb and apricots, sounds different but interesting. I’m sure the flavors go well

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 10, 2019 at 5:29 am

      Hi Alisha, I never thought of putting lamb with things like dates, apricots and raisin, however when I tasted a Tagine in Milan at the expo I was so intrigued and inspired. So happy about how this turned out. Thanks for commenting!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Nicole September 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    I have never had lamb! This seems liks a good recipe to try it for the first time.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 12, 2019 at 11:27 am

      Hi Nicole, I absolutely love lamb. Depends on where it is coming from will define the flavor, however I have tried many different producers and love them all. Lamb has this rich robust comforting flavor and with all the spices and that sauce it plays beautifully with the taste buds. Thank you for checking it out!.
      Cheers!
      Loreto

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