Saturday, August 20, 2011

lamb tagine with olives & saffron potatoes

lamb tagine with green olives and saffron potatoes moroccan cuisine cookbook by tess mallos

i'm zipping right through my moroccan cook book, the food of morocco by tess mallos (highly recommended) this summer. this was the first time i've cooked lamb (mike's favourite) and it turned out great. and it was super easy, so i thought i would share this adapted recipe. the olives, potatoe and lamb are a perfect flavour combination.

the nicest thing about moroccan food is that once you have your cupboards stocked with spices and a few non-perishable staple ingredients (olives, couscous, chickpeas) you can throw together a variety of meals just by adding fresh meat.

adapted from the food of morocco by tess mallos

serves 2-4
cooking time 1 hour 15 minutes
prep time 15 minutes

1 kg (approx. 2 lb) boneless lamb shoulder
olive oil, QB*
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
175 g (1 cup) green olives (preferably pitted)
750 g (approx. 1.5 lb) golden potatoes (yukon gold, e.g.)
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron threads**
black pepper, QB
salt, QB

Step 1: trim the fat off of the lamb and cut into 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) pieces. set aside in a dish.

Step 2: chop the onions and garlic. set aside 1 1/2 cups of water.

Step 3: coat the bottom of a large saucepan in a thin layer of olive oil. turn the heat to high. brown the lamb on each side in batches, removing the browned lamb to a separate dish when cooked. add more oil as required.

Step 4: turn the heat to low. add the onion and cook until soft (about 8 minutes). add the garlic, cumin and ginger. stir well and cook for a few seconds. add the 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) water and stir well to lift the browned juices and spices off of the base of the pan.

Step 5: return the lamb to the pan along with the paprika, salt and a good grinding of black pepper. add the coriander and parsley. cover and simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Step 6: while the lamb simmers, peel the potatoes. cut into quarters. place in a pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes. add a pinch of salt and the ground saffron. set aside.

**if you don't have saffron, don't fret. the saffron is supposed to 'perfume and colour' the potatoes. i used saffron in this dish but i don't feel it enhanced the taste of the potatoes enough to splurge on this very expensive ingredient the next time.

Step 7: put the olives in a small saucepan and cover with water. bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. drain and repeat once more. this sweetens the flavour of the olives (for real, they were delicious! this is an essential step!) drain and set aside.

Step 8: with 30 minutes remaining for your lamb to finish cooking, add the olives to the lamb. cover and continue to simmer. at this point the liquid in my pan was scarce so i added an extra 1/2 cup of water.

Step 9: with 15 minutes remaining for your lamb to finish cooking, boil the potatoes until tender. drain and toss lightly in olive oil or butter.

Step 10: transfer the lamb and sauce to a serving dish and arrange the potatoes around the lamb. eat.

*quanto basta - as much as you need/like

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