- 2 teaspoons ras-el-hanout*
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- 3 cups water
- 3 lb boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large onion, coarsely grated (1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/4 cups raisins
- 1 1/4 cups whole blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Accompaniment: couscous
Whisk together ras-el-hanout, salt, pepper, ginger, saffron, and 1 cup water in a 5-quart heavy pot. Stir in lamb, remaining 2 cups water, onion, garlic, cinnamon sticks, and butter and simmer, covered, until lamb is just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Stir in raisins, almonds, honey, and ground cinnamon and simmer, covered, until meat is very tender, about 30 minutes more.
Uncover pot and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until stew is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes more.
Cooks' note: Tagine can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered.
*Available at specialty foods shops and Kalustyan's (800-352-3451).
USER NOTES: Substituted two types of garam masala and a tiny bit of chinese 5 spice powder for the ras el-hanout and it seemed like the taste was a fair approximation. Next time I might add less almonds and less prunes as the recipe could be a bit less sweet and there are almost 2 almonds in every bite with this amount.
reduce honey to 1T.
Substitute currants for the raisins and reduce the liquid to really get that great flavor. If you go to an international market, look for dried, whole lemons- one added to the stew makes a nice addition, as well as adding some whole cardamom pods.
Yield: 6-8 servings