Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tagine, Tagine

My new tagine cooker, preserved lemons, and spiced lamb, ready to go.
Recently I decided to try Moroccan tagine cooking. Around a month ago, I put up some preserved lemons, which are now ready to use. I also bought a tagine -- quite a beautiful piece of ceramic cookware. After it arrived (from, I realized that I also needed a heat diffuser for my smooth-top stove. When that arrived, I spent several hours painstakingly following the instructions to season the tagine in preparation for cooking -- soaking it, oiling it, baking it in the oven, simmering water in it on the diffuser. Finally, this morning I bought all the ingredients for lamb tagine with couscous, and got everything ready.

More ingredients.

A sorry sight!
I was heating the lower cooking vessel part of the tagine slowly on the diffuser, following the instructions. Suddenly I heard a loud crack. It split in two. I had not yet added the meat to the pot so only some oil was lost -- making a mess on the stovetop. Luckily, the heat was low per the instructions so it didn't burn. It's all cleaned up now, and I had to make the lamb in an ordinary pan. I plan to try to return this defective item to, as I did everything with it exactly as I was told to do.

Using a skillet to cook the lamb.

Happy ending: the result was delicious! You can see the preserved lemons and also the apricots in the couscous.

Lamb Tagine
2 lamb leg steaks (around 1.5 lb total)
1/4 cup olive oil
1.25 cups water
1/2 cup grated onion (around 1 medium onion)
2 cups chopped onion (1 to 1.5 medium onions)
1 cup green and/or black olives, pitted & cut in pieces
2 preserved lemons, rinsed, pulp removed, cut in julienne
1/2 cup Italian parsley and coriander leaves, stems removed

Spices, blended together in a mortar:
1/2 tsp mixed saffron & turmeric
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1.5 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt

Cube the lamb and toss with the spice blend and the grated onion. Allow to stand for up to an hour. Heat oil on medium heat (ideally you would use a tagine cooker, but as I unfortunately showed, a regular skillet big enough to hold the lamb is fine too). Toss the spiced lamb in the heated oil until light brown. Add the water and cover tightly. Bring to very low simmer and cook for 1 hour; then add the remaining onion. Cook very slowly until meat is tender, adding water if necessary, but it probably won't be necessary.

10 minutes before serving add the olives and preserved lemons and bring to medium simmer. Garnish with the parsley and coriander leaves. Serve with couscous.
-- adapted from the pamphlet that came with the tagine from

1 cup water
2 tsp butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup couscous (used Trader Joe's whole wheat couscous)
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/3 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
flat-leaf parsley & cilantro leaves for garnish

Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in couscous and coriander, cover pan, and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and stir in oil, apricots, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with herbs.
-- adapted from an internet recipe and the couscous package


Pam said...

Oh, too bad that happened. But, your dish looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Mae,
Oh my that's just terrible! I'd be curious to know how amazon handles this situation. Please let us know:)

Your meal does look delicious however, just look at that list of ingredients!

I've been eyeing up Trader Joe's couscous so glad to know it's worthy of using.

Sounds like you had the makings of a delicious meal. At least it all worked out in the end but...

Thanks so much for sharing, Mae...

Happy Hanukkah to you and yours, Mae...

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I hate it when stuff like this happens. Thanks for the warning. What a shame, too, after all of the advanced prep work. I had similar trouble with a shortbread mold. I used it once and it cracked in the oven.