The last few years I have been de-cluttering my kitchen cupboards. I am re-cycling those gadgets that suggest when you buy them, they will “even do the cooking.” In my wisdom (think it’s called being over 60) I have noticed that most gadgets just take up space. Therefore I don’t buy anything anymore unless I am sure it will be used. A year ago I weakened and bought myself a Tagine by Le Creuset, with good intentions. Mmmmm there it sat on my counter, looking pretty. Finally, about a month ago, I started using it and am in love with it.
The design consists of two different parts—a wide round, shallow, base in which food is cooked and a conical shaped lid designed to lock in moisture and flavors. The lid sits high above the base and heat, so that it stays cooler. As steam rises and makes contact with the cool lid, it condenses and drips back down to the stew, cooking the food gently. It is easy to use, the meat cooks up so tender and moist, and the clean-up is a piece of cake!
Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Fennel and Dates
Use this recipe as a guideline. The first change I did was with the meat. I have used pork, venison and caribou. Each different cut of meat turned out the same, very moist and tender. I switched the dates with dried apricots, frozen mangoes, fresh pears, whatever I had on hand. I used black rice as a side dish.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds lamb cut into small pieces or your meat preference
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 cup pitted chopped dates
2 cups water
fresh cilantro to garnish
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in the Tagine base on a medium setting. Fry the onion, fennel and garlic until all are just beginning to brown. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining oil and fry the lamb until they are evenly brown.
Add all the spices (ginger, cumin, cilantro, cayenne pepper) and the salt to the meat and stir well. Continue to cook for one minute.
Return the onion, fennel, and garlic to the Tagine. Add the dates or the fruit of your choice, and the water. Stir well.
Cover and cook very gently stirring occasionally, for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
*this recipe makes 4 to 6 servings
**to serve 6-8 people increase all the ingredients by 1/2 and the liquid by 1/2 cup