Tagine of Lamb with Apricots, Prunes, and Honey

Apologies for the bad picture. This meal did not photograph well. 
Apologies for the bad picture. This meal did not photograph well. 

This was another easy, yet time consuming meal, like the Harira. It took about an hour and a half to cook but it didn’t require any attention so I was grateful for that.

Tagine can mean two things: a Berber dish or the clay pot in which it is prepared. There are two variations of the pot, a shallow version mostly used in North Africa and a deeper one used by the Bedouin. I’ve looked online and they’re pretty affordable and the smaller ones don’t seem to take up much space. I think they’re visually appealing and would definitely liven up a kitchen but as I’ve stated before, my kitchen is small so I have to keep my appliances and cookware to a minimum. Instead of a tagine, I used my Dutch oven for this dish. Tagine dishes do not require a lot of water because the pot’s cone pulls the moisture from the food and sort of steams it by having the moisture trickle done. Since I didn’t have a cone, I ended up using a bit more water in my dish that I think the recipe really needed. 

Another thing I’ve mentioned before (I repeat myself a lot) is that I’m not a big fan of lamb. The ground lamb in the Pide a few weeks ago wasn’t too bad but the gaminess was still there. And it’s the gamey taste in lamb that I really don’t like. Because of that, I was a little skeptical about this meal. The recipe called for two pounds of lamb shoulder. My grocery store only had lamb shank, lamb chops, and ground lamb. I could have gone to another store but I was running short on time. I told the butcher I needed shoulder and he said that maybe the shank would work since pig shank and shoulder were very similar. I mean, I wasn’t in 4H or anything but I’m pretty sure pigs and sheep are not related sooooo, I get his thinking but I’m just saying that it doesn’t really make sense…Regardless, I bought a pound and a half of lamb shank and hoped for the best. 

The cut he gave me had a lot of fat so I cut off as much of it as I could. Once I removed the fat and the little bit of bone, I was left with probably just over a pound of meat. This was fine, I didn’t expect the girls to eat any of this so a pound was enough for James and I. 

The recipe said to pour enough water to cover the meat, so I did. But I did not take into consideration that specific direction was made in the hopes of using an actual tagine and not a Dutch oven. It takes more water to cover meat in a Dutch oven than in a tagine. This resulted in my tagine coming out watery. So take note, if using a Dutch oven, maybe use enough water to only cover it halfway. Or even less. 

Even though it was watery, it was wonderful! The best part: no gaminess! Reading up on it now, it seems like the gamey taste of lamb resides in the fat so since I cut off most of the fat, that reduced the flavor. The meat was ridiculously tender; it literally fell apart in my mouth. I liked the sweetness of the apricots paired with the lamb; the prunes were just mush and were pretty blah. The highlight was definitely the absence of the gamey taste. I probably won’t make this ever again but at least I now know how to prepare lamb!



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