Lamb Tagine with Artichokes and Peas
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8
Tagine is the Moroccan word for both a stew and the conical earthenware dish it traditionally cooks in.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large pinch of saffron threads
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 8 lamb blade chops, cut 3/4 inch thick
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
- 1 small bunch of cilantro
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 preserved lemon, pulp discarded, rind cut into thin strips (see Note)
- 1 lemon, halved
- 8 small artichokes (1/4 pound each)
- One 10-ounce box frozen baby peas, thawed
- In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, mix the oil with the salt, ginger, white and black pepper, saffron and turmeric. Add 4 of the blade chops in a single layer and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes; transfer to a plate. Lightly brown the remaining 4 chops. Return the first 4 chops to the casserole and sprinkle the onion over the top. Tie the parsley and cilantro into a bundle and add it to the casserole along with the water and preserved lemon. Cover and bring to a boil, then cook over moderate heat until the lamb is just tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, squeeze the lemon halves into a large bowl of cold water; add the halves. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, snap off the outer green leaves. Using a sharp knife, trim the stem to 1/2 inch and cut off the top two-thirds of the leaves. Peel the bottom and stem. Scrape out the hairy choke with a teaspoon, then drop the artichoke into the lemon water.
- Drain the artichokes and add them to the casserole, tucking them under and between the lamb chops, then add the peas. Cover and cook until the lamb and artichokes are very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the lamb, artichokes and peas to a platter and strain the juices into a small saucepan. Skim off the fat, then boil the juices until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Pour the juices over the lamb and serve.
Preserved lemons are pickled in salted lemon juice. They can be mail-ordered from Kalustyan's, 212-685-3451.
A tagine refers to both a Moroccan stew and the earthenware pot in which the stew is traditionally cooked. The pot's cone-shaped lid traps steam, helping produce a succulent stew. Dutch ovens and other heavy pots also work well for preparing tagines.
To clear space on the stove, you could cook the tagine in a 300° oven after bringing the stew to a boil. If the stew bubbles too rapidly once it's in the oven for 10 minutes, turn down the heat.
A full-flavored red is the perfect match for the succulent lamb here. Look for a fruity, spicy Côtes-du-Rhône or a North African red from Tunisia.