Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lamb Tagine with Chestnuts, Saffron and Pomegranate Seeds

My darling husband chose a lamb tagine tonight. It was great. I did have some trouble with the chestnuts; I assumed they were peeled and they weren't. Yeah, big pain in the butt!  I also have issues with the woody parts of pomegranate arils, but despite that, it was wonderful. My husband liked it at first, but with every bite, he grew more and more enamored with the dish.   If you haven't tried Moroccan food, you just have to!  Put it on your menu right now, I'll wait, go on, do it. :). Moroccan food does have a lot going on flavor wise, but it's magical how all the pungent, salty, sweet flavors just work.  Now that I have built it up, I'm going to add a but...  But, since I have set your expectations so high, it can't meet them right?  And, but, you also need to be mindful of how our minds deal with new flavors. New flavors are interpreted often as bad. An unexpected boon from doing all these new recipes was that we are training our brains to have new mean new and new and unexpected is enjoyable at least because of its novelty even if it isn't something we love.   So, if you are someone who doesn't love trying new things, this will most certainly be a challenge for you, but keep on trying it. I promise you it is so worth it in the end. 

Lamb Tagine with Chestnuts, Saffron and Pomegranate Seeds

2 tablespoons ghee or 1 tablespoon olive oil plus a pat of butter
2  onions finely chopped 
4  garlic clove finely chopped
thumb size piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped or shredded
pinch of saffron threads
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks 
2 pounds of lean lamb from the shoulder or leg cut into bite-size pieces 
8 ounces peeled chestnuts 
1 to 2 tablespoons dark runny honey 
seeds of one pomegranate pith removed
leaves from small bunch of fresh mint, chopped
leaves from small bunch of cilantro, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper 
crusty bread or plain buttery couscous to serve

Heat the ghee in a tagine or heavy based are casserole dish.  Stir the onions garlic and ginger and sauté until they begin the color add the saffron and cinnamon sticks.  Toss in the lamb, pour enough water to almost cover the meat and bring it to a boil.  reduce heat and cover with a lid and simmer gently for about one hour 
Add the chestnuts and stir in the honey cover  again and cook gently for 30  minutes, until the meat is very tender season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper and then toss in some of the pomegranate seeds mint and cilantro.

Scatter remaining pomegranate seeds, mint and cilantro over the lamb serve with crusty bread or plain buttery couscous

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