Sunday, November 1, 2009
Tagine d'Agneau aux Poires (Lamb Tagine with Pears)
From the Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook
1 T. olive oil
700g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm cubes and patted dry with paper towels
fine sea salt
500g yellow onions, about 3 medium
2 garlic cloves
a pinch of saffron threads
1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
a good pinch of ground chile powder
100g whole blanched almonds
15g unsalted butter
4 ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered (choose a variety that will hold its shape when cooked, such as Conference or William)
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Arrange half of the meat in a single layer over the bottom of the pot without crowding. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, until the meat starts to brown. Season with salt, set aside on a plate, and repeat with remaining meat.
While meat is browning, peel and slice the onions. Peel and mince garlic. Once all meat is browned and set aside, combine onions, garlic, and 1 T. water in the pot. Cook over med. heat for 10 minutes, until softened, stirring regularly. Add the meat, sprinkle with spices, stir, and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Pour in hot water halfway up the meat. Bring to a simmer, cover, and lower the heat to med. low. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender.
While the meat is simmering, toast the almonds in a large dry frying pan until golden and fragrant, and set aside. In the same pan, melt the butter over med. heat until it starts to sizzle. Add the quartered pears and toss gently to coat. Lower the heat to med. low, cover, and cook 12 minutes, until the pears are cooked through and slightly translucent. Keep warm.
Remove the lid from the pot, turn the heat up to med. high, and cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thick enough to cling to the meat. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the meat and sauce to a serving dish. Surround with the pears, sprinkle with toasted almonds, and serve with couscous.
Note: If you're at all excited about Moroccan cooking, you may want to add ras el hanout, a complex mix of spices, to your spice rack. If you are able to find it, use 2 t. in this recipe, in place of the cumin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper.