Friday, December 19, 2014

FFWD ~ Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Almonds ~~~ Orange and Olive Salad

FFWD ~ Orange and Olive Salad

This week, for French Fridays, we have a very simple salad…another gift for the holiday season! This lovely Orange and Olive Salad took me about 10 minutes to prepare. I was not expecting to like it, but surprisingly I did! Three main ingredients, onions, oranges and olives! A little olive oil, salt and pepper, and that’s it! Simple and delicious! This was not going to fly with Bill; he never eats raw onions (or any kind). However, I genuinely enjoyed the salty-sweet flavor of this salad! I used some Blood Orange olive oil that I had in my pantry, and loved the extra touch it added. This salad was a winner! I would definitely make it again, next time for company! I think I could even make a Bill friendly version (nah)!  Now onto the Lamb Tagine with Apricot and Almonds, that I missed last week!

Company worthy salad…loved it!

I have been anticipating this dish for quite sometime! Moroccan flavors have always intrigued me! When I couldn’t get to it last Friday, I was somewhat disappointed, and was determined to get it done during the week!
I was all ready to start this intriguing dish on Sunday. However, when I pulled out my Tagine, I realized it needed to soak for 24 hours! What?? It’s been sitting on my kitchen counter for over a year, and I never realized it needed seasoning. Once again I put all the ingredients away, and soaked my Tagine! Monday morning I finished the seasoning process, and started my Lamb Tagine.

A Tagine is a North African dish, popular in Morocco and Tunisia. Moroccan Tagine dishes are slow-cooked savory stews, usually made in a clay pot of the same name. They can also be prepared in a slow cooker or Dutch oven. There’s nothing like a braised stew or pot of soup simmering away on the stove this time of year…it warms your soul!

FFWD ~ Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Almonds
First browning the lamb, and then sautéing the onions and garlic. Once they’re softened, add the spices along with some tomatoes, chicken broth and apricots. Cover it and pop it into the oven for a long braise.  After reading the posts from last week, I decided to add carrots, along with the apricots. I thought they would make this dish more husband friendly. The aroma of the warm spices, as this Tagine braised away in the oven, was intoxicating! It permeated my kitchen and warmed an otherwise cold damp day! 
Tagines are usually served with couscous or bread. I chose the couscous! This was a thoroughly enjoyable dish that I know I will make again. Even Bill enjoyed it! Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, “Around My French Table”. Since it’s been published on Dorie’s blog…I shared it below.  To see what the other Doristas thought of this recipe check it out here.

The tagine was finally christened, after a year of sitting on my counter!

Looking forward to using it again
Notice the deer eating the salad…I didn’t until I downloaded the photo
An utterly delicious dinner…a winner for sure!
Bon Appétit

from Dorie Greenspans blog
Makes 4 servings
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 pound moist, plump dried apricots
About 6 tablespoons olive oil
About 1 3/4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, fat removed, cut into cubes about 1 1/2 inches on a side
4 medium onions, peeled, trimmed and coarsely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, trimmed, germ removed and finely chopped
One 14 1/2 - ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, or 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and crushed
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, cracked (I do this in my mortar and pestle)
2 pinches saffron
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
About 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Couscous or rice, for serving
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
If you're using the bouillon cubes (it's what Francoise uses), drop them into a medium-size bowl and pour over 1 3/4 cups of boiling water; stir to dissolve.  If you're using chicken broth, bring it to the boil, then pour it into the bowl.  Add the apricots to the bowl and let them soak and plump while you prepare the rest of the tagine.
Put the base of a tagine, a heavy, high-sided skillet or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and pour in 3 tablespoons of the oil.  Pat the pieces of lamb dry between sheets of paper towels, then drop them into the hot oil - don't crowd the pan; work in batches, if necessary - and brown the meat on all sides, about 4 minutes.  Lift the meat out of the pot and onto a plate with a slotted spoon.  Season the lamb with salt and pepper.  Pour out the fat that it's in the pan, but leave whatever bits may have stuck to the base.
Return the pan to the stove, adjust the heat to low and add 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil.  When the oil is warm, stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, just to get them started on the road to softening.  Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring often, for another 10 minutes, adding a little more oil, if needed.  Add the chicken bouillon/broth to the pot as well as the coriander, saffron - crush the saffron between your fingers as you sprinkle it into the pot - ginger, cumin, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro leaves.  Stir to mix and dissolve the spices, season with salt and pepper and spoon the meat over the base of vegetables.  Top with the plumped apricots, seal the pan with aluminum foil and clap on the lid.  Slide the pan into the oven.
Bake the tagine for 60 minutes before carefully lifting the lid and foil and scattering the almonds over the meat.  Recover the pan and allow the tagine to bake for 15 minutes more.  (This seems like a tease to me - you open the lid, get a deep whiff of the tagine, see how beautiful it is and then have to wait another 15 minutes before you can dig in.  Sometimes, I skip this step and just save the toasted almonds to sprinkle over the tagine at serving time.  I give you permission to do likewise.)
Serving:  Of course, this should be served as soon as it comes from the oven.  If you've cooked it in a tagine, sprinkle the remaining cilantro over the meat, bring the tagine to the table and serve directly from the pan.  If you've used a skillet or Dutch oven, transfer the tagine to a warm large serving platter and dust with cilantro.  While you could serve the tagine solo, it would be a shame not to offer something to go with the wonderful sauce.  I serve either couscous (cooked without spices in chicken broth or water) or white rice.
Storing:  Like almost all braised dishes, this one is a good keeper.  You can make it a day or two ahead and, when it's cool, cover it well and keep it in the refrigerator.  If you make the dish ahead, I'd suggest you only add the toasted almonds when you reheat the tagine for serving and, of course, hold off on the last dusting of cilantro.


  1. What a feast! It would be a marvelous combination for entertaining (as long as Bill was out of town...LOL). Merry Christmas, Kathy!!! xo

  2. Kathy I can't wait to get home and make this for dinner! I've been in Memphis two weeks now and our people are healing and I kept thinking there would be time to cook but somehow there never is. If not for the kindness of people providing food it would be fast food and peanut butter:) Seeing the beautiful tagines in FF posts makes me want one but I keep telling myself I don't need one!

  3. I only made a bit of the salad for myself, knowing it would be hard sell for E. That 'nah!' for a Bill friendly version had me in stitches. Between that and the salad-eating deer this is one fun post. Your tagine looks gorgeous and I'm happy you enjoyed it as well. Merry Christmas, Kathy!

  4. Gorgeous tagine bowl... and wow,.. such a feast. So glad you enjoyed this, but I'm not surprised this meal has real Mediterranean palate appeal. Merry Christmas dear and a wonderous New Year.

  5. Glad you enjoyed the salad - I am in Bill's camp on that one though. Now the tagine is another thing entirely - I loved it, and your beautiful photos make me want to race out and make it again. Merry Xmas Kathy.

  6. What a beautiful tagine. I can understand how you could just admire it without even cooking in it. I love the colors. And, I'm glad to hear that it worked well with carrots added. The best part is that Bill liked it! Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of the salad. Have a Merry Christmas, my friend!

  7. The deer is hungry, just like the deer and elk that hang around outside your house! Your tagine is gorgeous, Kathy. I assume it is pottery. Did you get it while on a trip. Simply beautiful. The two recipes, the salad and the tagine do go together so I am glad you enjoyed them that way. Your braise looks beautiful. I added a few potatoes and peas only because I had them available. I agree, the smell was mesmerizing. Lovely post and I am glad you got them both made this week.

  8. What a wonderful feast! Love your beautiful that I am not sure I want to use it.
    Have a happy holiday season, Kathy!

  9. Only need to soak the tagine for 24 hours? Will follow suit, I have mine for two years now! Wonderful pairing, the salad and the lamb.

  10. Gorgeous tagine and salad, Kathy! Like Bill, I don't do raw onions in anything. - they just don't agree with me (perhaps a relation to the garlic allergy?). But the orange, olives and olive oils is an amazing and startling combination. Merry Christmas to you and Bill, and to your families! ~ David

  11. I love your tagine Kathy, it is beautiful as is the recipe. This was a delicious meal, one that I will
    make again. Merry Christmas to you and Bill, I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

  12. What a beautiful tagine and I love the deer eating the salad--it always intrigues me, seeing what background elements can end up being sort of funny in a photo. :) Glad you enjoyed both dishes, even if Bill did not. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Kathy!

  13. Gorgeous photos my friend, I never would have paired orange with olives!
    Your tagine also looks very tasty :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  14. I skipped this salad as my husband and I don't like olives. We did love the tagine and would make it again. Hope you have a Merry Christmas too.

  15. Your tagine is beautiful and your dishes both look cheerful and delicious.
    Merry Christmas, my friend.

  16. I did a double post of these two dishes, too. Loved them both. I love the deer eating the salad - of course it would! I hope you're having very happy holidays and here's to a wonderful 2015.

  17. We get a lamb every year. I may have to give the tagine a try (in my braiser, no tagine)--especially if your husband even liked it!