Lamb a good addition to traditional stew


Tagine is a Moroccan stew made with meat and often fruit. In this recipe for Lamb Tagine from Bill Niman and Janet Fletcher’s “The Niman Ranch Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), lamb shoulder is treated to a complex mix of pasilla chiles, roasted tomatoes, raisins, currants, and robust spices. It can be served over a warm bulgur salad or buttery couscous.

Lamb Tagine

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 to 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 pasilla chiles, diced
  • 1 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (see box)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • Red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Arrange the tomato halves, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the skins begin to shrivel, about 45 minutes.

Put the parsley, thyme and bay leaf in the center of a cheesecloth square, gather the ends, and secure with kitchen twine. Set aside.

Pat the lamb dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb to the skillet and cook, turning as needed, for 6 to 8 minutes, until evenly browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl.

Drain off and discard any excess oil from the skillet and return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the wine to the skillet and cook, stirring to release any bits of meat stuck to the bottom and sides, for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over the meat.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the bell pepper and pasilla chiles and cook uncovered for 20 minutes until tender.

Stir in the paprika, cumin and cardamom and cook for 1 minute. Press the tomatoes through a large-mesh sieve or a food mill held over the pan. Stir in the lamb and wine, stock, raisins, currants, and herb bundle. Bring to a boil over high heat, decrease the heat to low, and cook, partially covered, for about 3 hours, or until the lamb is tender.

Season the tagine to taste with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve. PC118085

Chicken Stock

Makes about 8 cups

  • 4 pounds chicken parts
  • 2 stalks celery, thickly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 quarts water

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Spread the chicken parts in a roasting pan and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until all of the fat is released and the chicken is browned.

Transfer the chicken parts to a large stockpot and add the celery, carrots, onions, peppercorns, bay leaf, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer gently uncovered for 4 hours (you can cook longer for a more concentrated stock, but the yield will be less), skimming away any foam that collects on the top. Remove the large solids and then strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the solid fat from the top of the stock and discard. Store the stock in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.