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Lamb Tagine with Cinnamon, Saffron, and Dried Fruit

Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell
Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup tagine and 3/4 cup couscous)
Warm cinnamon and saffron combine with coriander and cumin to lend complex flavor to this Moroccan-style lamb tagine. This festive dish is served over couscous to soak up the delicious gravy.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup diced seeded Anaheim chile
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cubed
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup tomato purée
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 3/4 cups green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch-thick strips
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup cubed carrot
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 4 1/2 cups cooked couscous
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Nutrition Information

  • calories 420
  • caloriesfromfat 13 %
  • fat 5.9 g
  • satfat 1.9 g
  • monofat 2.2 g
  • polyfat 0.8 g
  • protein 31.4 g
  • carbohydrate 61 g
  • fiber 8.3 g
  • cholesterol 73 mg
  • iron 4.9 mg
  • sodium 372 mg
  • calcium 91 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.

  2. Combine first 8 ingredients.

  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add lamb; cook 8 minutes on all sides or until browned. Remove lamb from pan. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in half of chile mixture and tomato purée; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in lamb and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.

  4. Wrap handle of skillet with foil, and bake, covered, at 325° for 1 hour. Stir in bell pepper, squash, carrot, saffron, and cinnamon. Cover and bake an additional 40 minutes. Stir in remaining chile mixture and apricots. Cover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick; serve over couscous. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Cook's Notes

Adding the spice paste in two stages gives depth and brightens the flavor. Leaving the cinnamon whole keeps its influence subtle. Moroccan tagines tend to be warmly and sweetly spiced rather than hot.