I love dinner I can make in one pot-add a salad and call it a day. This is really a “one pot/two pan” dinner but, the dish washing is so minimal and you can make most of it in advance, I promise you wont mind.
A few weeks ago I wrote about an article in the LA Times profiling Paula Wolfert. She had a recipe there for Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Melting Tomatoes and Onions. While the dish looks incredible, it does take almost four hours to make. Unless you’ve got an entire Sunday to cook, it might seem impossible to get the true flavors of a lamb tagine. Not so!
Last year I saw a recipe in Bon Appetit for a version that takes closer to 2 hours, most of which is unattended cooking. I played with the recipe a bit, intensifying some flavors and changing others. We made it last week in my cooking class and not only did it look stunning but Ginny and David, who cooked it, did a bang up job-it tasted amazing. They served it over couscous in a large shallow bowl as this dish is great for a family style meal. I like the idea of making Tori’s Moroccon Carrots on the side and calling it dinner. Simple, satisfying, and so very tasty.
Lamb Tagine With Tomatoes and Caramelized Sweet Onions
3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into ¾-1 inch pieces (boneless lamb stew meat is perfect)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 cups chopped sweet onions, about 3 pounds, divided (or yellow onions)
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
4 cups chopped plum tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
¼ cup olive oil
1½ cups couscous
¼ cup butter (or olive oil)
Season the lamb well with salt and pepper. Combine 3 cups of the chopped onions, lamb, and 2 cups of water in heavy large pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the meat is beginning to get tender, about 1½ hours. Add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Continue to simmer, partially covered, until the juices thicken and the lamb is very tender, about 30 minutes more. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and remove the cinnamon sticks.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in heavy large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 6 cups chopped onions. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and translucent, about 45 minutes. If the onions begin to brown, turn the heat down to medium-low. When the onions are done increase the temperature to medium high and cook the onions, stirring, until golden brown. Season the onions with salt and pepper. (Stew and onions can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill separately. Rewarm each over low heat before continuing).
Just before serving, make the couscous. Place the couscous in a heat-proof bowl. Heat 2½ cups of water, butter (or olive oil), and a pinch of salt over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, pour it over the couscous, stir once, and cover the bowl with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes (up to 20), fluff with a fork, and transfer to a warm, shallow serving bowl.
Pour the stew over the couscous. Scatter caramelized onions and remaining 2 tablespoons parsley over the top and serve right away.