Randy Mayor
5 servings (serving size: 1 cup lamb mixture and about 2 1/2 teaspoons almonds)

Prepare this tagine a day ahead, and you will be rewarded with more complex flavors. Wildflower honey provides an aromatic essence to this dish in lieu of the traditional orange flower water. You can add one-quarter cupfuls of water or broth to sauce during cooking if too thick. Serve with flatbread.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425°.

Step 2

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently to coat. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add lamb mixture; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides and stirring frequently. Add onion, and cook 2 minutes, stirring once. Stir in broth, honey, and cinnamon stick. Cover and bake at 425° for 45 minutes. Stir in apricots, and bake 15 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick, and sprinkle evenly with slivered almonds.

Step 3

Wine note: Lamb, the most traditional meat of the Mediterranean, is extremely wine-friendly. From cabernet sauvignon to syrah and Bordeaux to Rioja, there's hardly a red wine that doesn't work with it. In this dish, the savoriness of the lamb is underscored by the fruity sweetness of the apricots and honey. This goes well with zinfandel, a thick, rich wine that has a dense fruitiness of its own. Try Folie à Deux's 2002 zinfandel from Amador County, California ($18). -Karen MacNeil

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