Now any great dish deserves a proper origin story and this Lamb Tagine is no exception. Back in January, while attending the ALT Design Summit,  I was desperate to find food away from my hotel room and small bite cocktail parties. A little birdy (literally!) recommended we head on over to EVA. So a group of lady friends I’d met during the conference braved the winter storm, a longer wait than expected* and ultimately a divine dining experience.

In true Cuisinerd fashion, I jotted down flavor notes on my iphone and tried to commit every bite to detail on pads of free hotel paper pads with hopes of recreating at home…and by jotting I mean feverishly. I usually have a difficult time reading my own writing when it’s time to get mad scientist in the kitchen. I call that being a little too excited in the taste discovery moment. I geek out, so what?

Where my tagine recipe slightly differs from the original, it’s definitely in the top ten “high five we did it” favorite recipes and it always brings back great memories of its discovery back in Salt Lake City. I know that 2 1/2 hours of cooking time sounds ridiculously intimidating…but I promise you this: it is worth every minute of slow cooking wonder, especially on a beautiful Sunday afternoon any time of the year. So pick out some records, pull out those magazines, pour yourself something delightful and take some T to the O….a good ol’ fashioned and much time out to enjoy a slower paced life.

Wait! Don’t have a tagine? Where you can substitute with a dutch oven…It’s just not the same. Don’t you think itt’s past time you introduced this versatile vessel into your kitchen arsenal? I’ve made the hunt a little easier for you and it just so happens that I’ve rounded up my most stylish tagine design picks over here**. So get those fingers clickity clacking on this here internet and order yourself a magic machine. It’ll change your life. Trust.

Recipe: Moroccan Lamb Tagine

Lamb Tagine Ingredients:

• 1 lb lamb shoulder
• Moroccan or Marrakesh spice blend
• 1 white onion, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• ½ cup chopped cilantro stalks
• 15 oz can chickpeas
• 28 oz can whole plumb tomatoes
• ½ cup low sodium chicken stalk
• ¼ cup chopped Turkish apricots
• 1/3 cup Italian green olives with pits
• 1 artichoke
• Israeli couscous
• Chopped almonds and cilantro for garnish

Instructions

• Rub lamb shoulder with spice blend and let at least one hour in refrigerator (over night best, if possible)
• In hot tagine*, add olive oil and sear lamb until all sides are brown (about 5 minutes)
• Add in onion, garlic and cilantro stalks. Sautee for 5 minutes, or until golden
• Add in chickpeas, plumb tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and place on tagine lid for 1 ½ hours
• Turn meat over, add chopped apricots and olives, add water if needed. Cover with lid and simmer for 1 more hour
• Remove lid, add sautéed artichoke hearts and cook for another 10 minutes.
• In a bowl, add cooked couscous and top with Lamb mixture
• Ladle saffron broth on top (see below for broth ingredients/instructions)

*If you do not have a tagine, a Dutch oven can be used as a pot substitution
 
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 1/2 Hours
Number of servings: 4

Recipe: Saffron Infused Broth

Ingredients

• 1 generous pinch saffron threads
• 2 cups low sodium chicken stalk
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 cup crushed tomatoes
• ½ white onion
• 2 celery stalks
• 4 whole cloves garlic
• 1 Turkish bay leaf
• 2 sprigs thyme

Instructions:

• Infuse saffron in 2 cups cold chicken stalk, let sit for at least 10 minutes
• In a sauce pan, sauté onion, garlic, celery, bay leaf and thyme until golden
• Add in saffron chicken broth, let simmer for 10 minutes
• Add in crushed tomatoes, let simmer for an additional 10 minutes
• Add in white wine and bring back to a simmer
• Strain mixture through cheesecloth and set broth aside for 10-20 minutes on low
• Broth should be made half way through tagine preparation
 
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Yields 2 cups broth

*I must note – If you do visit EVA the wait for a table is worth experiencing Cheers To You next door. No really…that’s what the bar is called. It’s dirty and it’s awesome. So don’t be scared, saddle up and get ready for some serious people watching. I also offer up caution as they seem to be serving fire water over there – Heavy on the ice please, yowza!
 
** No really, go pick out yourself a new stylin’ Tagine over here