Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Taste of Morocco

Last night I made a new recipe from Fresh Moroccan, a new book I found on sale at Barnes and Noble. The flavor was very good and the lamb was extremely tender, but I'd make a few changes next time around. Here's the recipe the way the book had it and then my notes at the end. Oh and I know this sounds time consuming, but most of the time is hands off while it simmers...

Tagine of Lamb & Artichokes with Rice

1 lb. boneless lamb (leg or shoulder), cut into bite sized pieces
4 1/2 cups water, divided
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 medium onion, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
good pinch of saffron threads
3/4 tablespoon olive oil
1 can of artichoke hearts (in water), quartered and drained
1/4 tsp. black pepper
good pinch freshly ground ginger
1 oz. finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 cup basmati rice

Put the lamb and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium pan and bring slowly to a boil, skimming as foam forms. Add the salt, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, onion, garlic, saffron, and olive oil. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

After the 40 minutes is up, add the artichoke hearts, return to a boil. Again, reduce heat and simmer another 20 minutes, or until meat is tender. About 5 minutes before cooking time is up, add the ginger, cilantro, pepper and parsley.

While this is cooking, make the rice. The time you have to start will depend on the type of rice. I used brown basmati which takes 50 minutes, but white basmati takes less. Bring the remaining 2 cups water and about 3/4 tsp. salt to a boil. Stir in the rice and turmeric. Reduce heat to low and simmer according to package directions.

To serve, scoop some rice into a shallow bowl and then top with the lamb and artichokes.

Now for my notes: I found it a bit water and a little blah. The saffron tasted great as did the cinnamon, but the flavors would be better if the sauce were more concentrated. I cooked it with the top off for the last 20 minutes, but would cook with the top off even longer next time. I might also try to use some lamb broth or even beef or chicken to add more flavor. I also added about a tablespoon of lemon juice which gave it a little freshness, as well as more than a pinch of ginger. I'd add more next time or even throw a couple slices of lemon in to the pot as it cooked. If you have the time, you might consider browning the meat first. Then add the water - this will keep all the little bits of flavor in. Oh and more garlic goes without saying, but that's the case with most things I make!

All in all, a delicious and healthy dinner. Very low in fat and artichokes are packed with healthy stuff!

1 comment:

Flirting with Flour said...

Yum! I made a Moroccan couscous the other night and LOVED the flavors - I was initially intimidated because Moroccan cooking usual includes a long list of spices but I'm so glad I tried it. This recipe looks simple enough and sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

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