Exotic Mediterranean recipes
If you are in for a treat and I am not talking about dessert, what would you go on cooking?
For me normally it’s a nice slow cooked stew. I went super exotic on it, Moroccan lamb tagine, with apricots and almonds.
Head straight to the recipe.
You might well wonder what a Greek foodblog is doing with such a staple Moroccan dish. Truth is all along the Med we love our spices. Some spices are more loved than others, our red sauce stews are normally infused with the goodness of cinnamon and we let a bit of paprika in for good measure. The Greek pallet is not often tempted by spicy, so hot paprika is used in moderation. As for having something sweet in the pot, like fruit, many people around here will look at me in disbelief. As for me, sweet and spicy is a favourite combination and every time I think of a treat is a an aromatic lamb tagine like this one, with lots of apricots, crunchy almonds and a fresh bunch of coriander.
Do I have this special clay dish, the tagine, to cook it in? No, I’m afraid I don’t but unfortunately neither do I have the time or luxury of a proper stove fire here in my little Athenian apartment. So the tagine turns into a casserole. Marinading time aside, you should be done within two hours and end up with a mellow spiced, very fragrant lamb stew. If you don’t like lamb, you could substitute with chicken. Although lamb so generously spiced is turned into something divine, its rich flavour enhanced by slow cooking and the combination of apricots and almonds is definitely adding another dimension to it.
Here is what you will need.
Lamb tagine with apricots and almonds (serves 4-6)
Ingredients (adapted by Nigel Staler)
- 1 kg of lamb, diced
- 2 medium onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon & 1 cinnamon stick
- 1tbsp of sweet paprika
- 1 tsp of hot paprika, smoked
- 500 gr of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp of tomato paste
- 750 gr of vegetable stock
- 350 gr of fresh apricots or 20 dried apricots
- 2 tbsp honey
- 100 gr of almonds, whole or flaked
- one small bunch of fresh coriander or mint ( I prefer coriander for this one)
- salt & pepper to taste
- a pinch of sugar
- 250 gr Greek yogurt
Bulgur wheat (side dish)
- 250 gr of bulgur wheat
- 500 ml f water
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
What to do:
Start with a marinade
- Mix half the ground spices, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, sweet & hot paprika and 2 large spoonfuls of olive oil. Toss in the diced lamb and keep in the fridge for 3-4 hours, even better if you can do it overnight.
- In a deep pot, heat a bit of olive oil and in medium heat seal the diced lamb in batches.
- Remove the lamb and set aside whilst you prepare the sauce.
- Roughly chop the onions and crush the garlic cloves. Add to the casserole along with the remaining spices and allow to soften over medium heat (approx 10 min)
- Put the spiced lamb, chopped tomato, tomato paste and cover with the vegetable broth.
- Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat and let it cook with the lid half on for approximately 1 ½ hrs.
- Remove the stones and half the fresh apricots.
- Check the sauce, if too liquidy, remove the lamb and let most of the liquid cook off.
- Once the sauce looks almost set, add the halved apricots in the pot along with the honey and almonds. Stir to mix and put the lamb back in the pot.
- Finely chop the fresh coriander and mix in before serving your lamb tagine.
- It is ideal if you can let it stand for a bit before serving.
It is a great alternative to rice, very easy to cook and it has this magic ability of soaking up all the goodness of this sauce. The analogy for cooking bulgur wheat, cracked wheat is 1 cup bulgur wheat to 2 cups water.
- Bring water to the boil, add the bulgur wheat and a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and let it soften on low heat, with the lid on. It takes 15-20 minutes.
- Serve your lamb on a generous helping of bulgur wheat, with a spoonful of yogurt and freshly chopped coriander.
I hope you enjoy your fragrant tagine with really good company. In case you need more apricot inspiration, check out the links below. You will find some delicious freshly cooked recipes from fellow bloggers:
Evina from Cook and feel made apricot clafoutis
Katerina from Delightful Area made apricot granola (Greek only)
Aggeliki from Cookika made a carrot and apricot cake
Elena from Elena is cooking made baked apricots with feta cheese and almonds
Nana from Kouzinista made a chicken drumsticks with apricots (Greek only)
Aris from Neanikon made an apricot pasta frola (Greek only)
Dora from Pandora’s Kitchen made French toast with caramelised apricots (Greek only)
Irene from Paxxi made an apricot and pistachio pavlova (Greek only)
Niki from To mialo sto fagito made biscuit & apricot delight (Greek only)
Artemis from Wonderfoodland made apricot sorbet (Greek only)
From Athens with love,