Lamb to me has always tasted like hoof. A dirty hoof at that. Recently, however, I have started to enjoy lamb, although I am not sure what that says about my palette. Apparently, I now dig hoof.
So, with my new-found interest in lamb, I gingerly went forth with a very Moroccan-inspired lamb dish Sunday night — lamb tagine with chickpeas and apricots. I am now a lamb lover. The standout of this dish is the sultry, tantalizing sauce that perfumes your house (and quite frankly, all of your clothes and hair) with a bevy of warm spices — cinnamon, cumin, ginger and cardamom, just to name a few. I can only imagine how the scent might compare to the heady aromas that linger in the markets of Marrakesh. Quite frankly, I was ready to go out and buy belly dancer pants and finger cymbals. But that’s a whole other story.
This truly was a delicious dish, one that my husband immediately pronounced as worthy of a remake.
I followed the recipe almost exactly except for one simple alteration to lighten the dish: I poured out most of the rendered lamb fat after browning the meat and before adding the remaining ingredients. The result? A silky sauce sans grease.
Another highlight of the dish was the couscous, which was a big surprise to me. Normally I find couscous dull and not worth the calories, but not this time. I found an Israeli whole wheat toasted couscous that was chewy, nutty and beautifully complemented the dish. I could eat a bowl of this couscous topped with berries for breakfast.
I urge you to try this recipe, even if you and your palette haven’t quite yet figured out where you both stand on lamb. Just get yourself a rockin’ pair of finger cymbals first.
The whole wheat couscous sounds like something I want in my kitchen. I have some lamb shops hanging out in my freezer. Would this recipe work with them?
Hmmm, I think you need a richer cut of meat than chops to withstand all the braising in this dish. I would be afraid the chops would get tough. What you could do is grill,pan-sear or broil the chops separately and ladle the tagine over the chops afterward. The couscous is called Toasted Israeli Whole Wheat couscous. I found it at Harris Teeter. Let me know how it comes out if you decide to try it! Enjoy.