Back in October I went to an event called Byte of Texas. It was an all day event designed for food bloggers. It was mostly an educational, weekend long experience for people in the industry. I love going to these to see old and new friends, learn a few things and always eat yummy food. Of course these events always have brands there representing their products that bloggers could use. I'm not talking about paper and pencils for writing; I'm talking about food. And this one was no different.
Now being a pastry gal, nothing sends my heart fluttering like seeing bulk containers of butter, heavy whipping cream or chocolate. But that was not the case at this event. One of the days there I met Tyler Winograd from the American Lamb Board. He was offering up review samples of lamb shoulder. Usually I pass on these samples because my expertise is pastry. But I started thinking... why not...I don't cook lamb very often, but I love it... What a great opportunity to try a new recipe and see what I end up with. So I decided to request a sample of some lamb shoulder.
And now here is the part where I get to say, the American Lamb Board isn't paying me for this post, all thoughts and comments are my own, and whatever else the governing agencies think I need to say, etc. I like lamb and wanted to try a new recipe, simple as that. Now we can get back to the post since I am done with the disclosure of how I got the lamb.
I can imagine what you are thinking. Should be interesting right? As with anything new, I realize there are experts in the field that will always know more than I do. And with that said, I'm glad to have one of those experts as a friend. I partnered with fellow chef, Jen Symes, to create this recipe. She has 15+ years of experience cooking in fine dining restaurants and is living in Austin at the moment away from her home in Australia. Jackpot right? This gal can cook, and boy does she know lamb!
So within seconds of sending her a text to see if she was up for partnering on this project, she had responded with a few menu ideas, and we ran with it from there. We decided to go with a very basic lamb tagine with couscous. It's a long process, but the prep time is short and mostly what happens is that you return to the pot to stir once an hour or so and adjust the liquid amounts. This meal is definitely worth the wait. The lamb is transformed into a thick aromatic stew of meltingly fork tender meat. All perfectly paired with a couscous containing the sweet flavor of golden raisins and apricots. Kinda makes me wish I only used half of the lamb so I could make it all over again this week.
- 2 celery stalks ½" diced
- 2 carrots ½" diced
- 1 medium onion ½" diced
- 6 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 5 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- 5 Lb Lamb shoulder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 3 tablespoon salt
- 3 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 tablespoon white wine
- 32 oz chicken broth
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 eggplant diced ¾" cubes
- ¼ cup ginger julian cut
- 1 small bunch of cilantro - rough cut large with stems
- 2 Cup water
- 2 Cup couscous
- lemon zest of one lemon
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup dried apricots cut small
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon cilantro
- 2 tablespoon sliced almonds
- Trim lamb and remove any large fat caps and cut to 1 ½" dice.
- In a large bowl, mix the nutmeg, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, 2 tablespoon salt and red pepper flakes to the meat. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the meat, and set aside for 20 minutes to rest. After 20 minutes, mix 3 tablespoon vegetable oil into meat mixture and stir until coated.
- Heat 2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large dutch oven. Once shimmering, add celery, carrots, onions and garlic and 1 tablespoon salt and saute until translucent. About 10 minutes.
- Put ½ of the Lamb mixture into a hot 12" skillet and brown, adding 2 tablespoon white wine into the pan. Once seared, add the lamb to the dutch oven and repeat the process with the other half of the meat.
- Pour a small amount, ¼ cup, of the chicken broth into the skillet to deglaze the pan. Pour all of that into the dutch oven.
- Add two cinnamon sticks to the dutch oven.
- Add crushed tomatoes and the remaining chicken broth to the dutch oven.
- Stir and continue to cook.
- Add 2 cups water to the dutch oven, cover and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn heat down to low and let simmer.
- Add water as needed for sauce consistency.
- After about 2.5 hours on low, add eggplant and continue cooking for about 30 minutes until the eggplant is tender.
- Add ginger and stir.
- Add cilantro and stir. Remove from heat.
- Bring 2 cups water to boil in a small saucepan.
- In a medium sized bowl stir to combine, couscous, lemon zest, raisins, apricots and olive oil.
- Add boiling water to the couscous mixture in the medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- After 5 minutes, remove plastic wrap and stir.
- Add cilantro and almonds, and stir.