Tajines are a glowing example of how you can work on a dish very little and end up with something glorious! Such is the magic of Moroccan cooking. You will make a sensation on Passover and all year-round with this treat!
Tajine is the name of the earthenware pot that gave its name to all dishes cooked in it. In our native Moroccan cooking, there is no such thing as a side dish.‖ Equal time for veggies and meat or fish—this is where our respect for veggies comes from. Vegetables cook, either alone or along with the fish or the chicken or the meat and various seasonings, according to their respective cooking times: This is what makes our cooking so flavorful and exciting, and makes us eat our vegetables without any begging or urging.
No need to buy expensive cuts of lamb for Tajines: there are plenty of very tender and decently priced cuts, such as shanks, or neck. If you start with bone-in parts, you will get a more complex more gelatinous sauce, but there are times where you might be cooking for a larger group and might not be able to accommodate the bones in your pot. In this case boned is fine too.
No problem making the dish with beef or bison.
- 4 pounds lamb shanks, or lamb or beef cubes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced in a food processor
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 pinches saffron
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups pitted prunes, packed
- 1 ½ cups dry apricots, packed
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted 15 minutes in a 300 degree oven
Put the meat in a large heavy pot with 2 quarts (8 cuts) water and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, covered, 2 hours. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook, on a medium high flame, until dark brown. Add the sugar and cook 1 more minute. Add to the lamb, at the end of the 2 hours cooking, with the saffron, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon sticks and ground pepper, and cook 45 more minutes. Add the ground cinnamon and dry fruit, and cook 15 more minutes. Transfer the meat and fruit to a platter with a slotted spoon. If the liquid in the pot is too thin, reduce at high flame until thickened, and pour over meat. Just before serving, sprinkle with the almonds.