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Friday, 26 August 2011

Tagine of Lamb, Prunes & Apricots - Wrapping Up Ramadan Recipes on a Sweet-Savoury Note

For this Recipe in Arabic, follow this link

Serves 4 | Easy
This dish is filled with exquisite flavours and its savoury sweetness makes
it a perfect end for a month's recipe collection packed with good food
Ramadan is unwinding, and will soon be leaving us to get back to our busy daily routines. I am hoping that all the good food prepared and had during Ramadan has inspired a return back to the kitchen and home cooking. There is nothing better than home-cooked food! Best of all is the gathering of a family over a home cooked meal, sharing their thoughts, their day and simply being together as a family. These are the essentials of family living and the memories of your children in the making. With Ramadan coming to an end, take the good things and infuse them into your family life; if not daily, at least regularly. Try and slow down, enjoy your family, kids and cooking. Find that Balance, there is no better Reward!

To a month's full collection of recipes - that will remain on this blog for you to revisit - I wrap up Ramadan Recipes with a Sweet-Savoury dish that will tickle your taste buds. Tagine of Lamb and Prunes is a Moroccan Cuisine Classic. It is a dish with distinguished flavours, with a deep rich sauce that will satisfy your cravings. The sweetness of the prunes and apricots is balanced by the seasoning, spices, and the melt-in-your-mouth lamb meat making this dish the perfect wrap for this year's Ramadan Recipes!

Fruits and Nuts add flavour and texture to your food,
the art is in finding the balance

A dish about Balance! The art in making this dish lies in finding the balance between the sweet and the savoury flavours. If you add too much fruit, the tagine will come out too sweet, and somewhat tiring for the palate. If you barely add the fruits, the flavour will be shallow and incomplete. The addition of orange blossom water is classic to this recipe, but make sure you do not over do it as it will add a bitter note to your tagine. It can be omitted, but then it won't be the classic Lamb & Prune Tagine. In fact, a slight hint of orange blossom water lends this dish its distinguished flavour, and almost takes you to the streets of Casablanca in the open market where hints of this smell are always present. It is customary to serve this dish with a side serving of green and black olives, the savoury flavours of which will perfectly suit this tagine. Tagine is commonly served on its own, or with a side serving of bread. I like to have it with a side of couscous, as I find the textures to be great together. Here is how it's made...

I have used boned lamb shanks,
and roughly chopped them
You Need
8 lamb shanks (on the bone or boned)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1 ltr hot water
1 small bunch coriander, finely chopped
1/4 cup prunes, roughly chopped
4 dried apricots, sliced
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp orrange blossom water
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 pinch saffron threads
1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp turmeric
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole cloves
Salt & Black Pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Toasted Sesame seeds for garnish

In a large saucepan, slightly heat the olive oil, add the blanched almonds and sautee till golden. Add the chopped onion, and cook stirring for a minute. Do not brown onions.

Add the lamb and stir to cool the onions down, season the lamb with salt, black pepper, turmeric, saffron threads, ground corriander, ground ginger and toss to coat.

Once the lamb has slightly browned, add the hot water, the cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes are over, add the sliced apricots, roughly chopped prunes and whole cloves, simmer covered for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a seperate bowl, mix together the melted butter, honey, orange blossom water and ground nutmeg till incorporated. Add chopped coriander and stir to coat with the orange blossom infusion.

Once the 20 minutes are finished, add the coriander mixture into the simmering pot.

Increase the heat, and bring to a rapid boil, let the mixture slightly reduce and caramelise. Do not over cook the mixture and do not let it dry out. The idea here is to slightly reduce, in order to concentrate the flavours. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with bread or couscous on the side. Enjoy!

Hope you have enjoyed My Ramadan Recipes, Welcome to all the new followers and thank you all for the fabulous comments and the many emails. I always love to hear from you. I have tried to get back to as many of you as I could, and for those to whom I haven't, I will be doing so ASAP.

I continue to post recipes all year long, from various cuisines, with various techniques and will continue to talk to you about good food, traditions and food preparation practices so make sure to keep on dropping by and stay in touch.

Will be announcing New courses soon, I have many fabulous courses to come, and looking forward to welcoming you in one.

Ramadan Kareem, and Eid Mubarak to all of you out there :)