Date Tagine

Date Tagine

We are going to make my favorite dish, a Date Tagine. It is sweet and savory and full of intense flavors.  I absolutely love it.

You may be asking “What is a tagine?”  Well, this dish is a bit of a misnomer, as a tagine pot is an African cooking vessel with a tall conical top and a flat round bottom. Technically, a tagine is a dish cooked in a tagine pot. Luckily, in Western nomenclature a tagine has come to refer to African style stews that use the flavors and methods of a traditional tagine, without the pot. This specific tagine is a Moroccan style tagine.

For this dish to work, you need to be patient.  Tagines are cooked low and slow. It is very important you let it braise over low heat for a long amount of time; this breaks down the tough, chewy collagen. This is why in braises you can take a cheap cut of meat and make it delicious and tender.  You can use a tougher cut of lamb like the leg and still get stunning results.

Since this dish has such a strong flavor I recommend serving it over a starch. I used a Cilantro Feta Polenta.

Ingredients:

½ onion diced

1 lb lamb cubed trimmed of fat

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp fresh ground ginger

Hot pepper to taste (½ tsp pepper flakes gives a nice little kick)

8 dates, no seeds

2 cups beef or chicken broth

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp honey

Toasted Sesame seeds

Directions:

1)      Sauté onions in a medium sauce pot until translucent

2)      Add cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, and hot peppers. Sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant.

3)      Add the lamb and sauté for 5 minutes until it begins to brown on all sides.

4)      Pour in broth, salt, honey, and dates.

5)      Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, covered.

6)      Simmer for 1 hour until the sauce is very thick and the lamb is very tender.

7)      Adjust the flavors with honey or salt as needed.

8)      Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

9)      Serve over a starch.  Click here for the Cilantro Feta Polenta Recipe.

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