Mrouzia (Lamb Tagine with Raisins, Honey & Almonds)

February 1, 2008 at 7:41 am Leave a comment

North African cuisine is all around us in Belgium. There are so many types of dishes that I never knew of before moving here. It’s opened up the possibilites of a brand new way of thinking about slow-cooked food and stews. Tajines are my favorite and there are as many varieties as you can think of cooking under the peculiar dome-shaped lid. While we don’t have a tajine with us here (we do have one in Minneapolis – never used!), these dishes work equally well in a Dutch oven. This particular dish, Mrouzia, is traditionally made after the celebration of Aid el Kebir (“Feast of the Slaugther of the Lamb”). Apparently, it is a time when a family would have large amounts of meat on hand. It was created to preserve the lamb in the days before refrigeration was invented. It’s a sweet dish, with earthy notes and goes well with a serving of couscous on the side. If you’re like Matt and don’t like raisins, just pick around them when you eat it. They add a richness and sweetness to the sauce.

Lamb Tagine with Raisins, Honey & Almonds
Ingredients:
1 tsp. ras-el-hanout*
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 pinch saffron threads
3 cups water
1 lb. boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed & cut into 1 in. cubes
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 3 in. cinnamon stick
1 T. butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup whole blanched almonds
2 T. honey
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

To Make:
Whisk together ras-el-hanout, salt, pepper, ginger, saffron and 1 cup water in large dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in lamb, remaining 2 cups water, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, and butter. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lamb is just tender (about 30 minutes).
Stir in raisins, almonds, honey and ground cinnamon and simmer, covered, until meat is very tender (about 15 minutes more).
Uncover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened (about 5 minutes longer).

Yield:
2-4 Servings

*ras-el-hanout is a spice blend popular in middle-eastern cooking. You can find it at specialty stores or make your own. It keeps well in an air-tight container. It varies from recipe to recipe, but here is the one I used:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • I teaspoon turmeic

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix all ingredients together and seal in an air-tight jar. Is also great just sprinkled on couscous or as a spice rub on your favorite meat.

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Entry filed under: main-meals, meat. Tags: , , , , , .

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