“Deconstructed Tagine” of Lamb and Summer Vegetables
If you love summer vegetables and cooking that makes people say “oh-my-god-it-smells SOOOOO-good-in-here!!!!!!” then you may like this recipe. It was intended as a tagine, which is a slow cooked Moroccan stew named for the earthenware vessel — quite beautiful in shape and decoration — in which it is cooked.
I was in the city yesterday, near the international groceries that I like to visit when I want to restock my pantry with ingredients for our Greek, Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes. I came home with some goat and two beautiful pieces of local lamb — a shoulder and a loin. The shoulder has lots of connective tissue, especially in the shank, which would render a soft and unctuous stew. And so I intended to make a tagine with rutabagas, zucchini, and carrots from my garden. But alas, today was another busy day, and arriving home too late to do a 2 hour cooking, I decided to deconstruct the dish, grilling the shoulder whole and cooking the vegetables to silky softness on the stovetop, using the traditional spices to get the taste I was after. I much prefer my meat grilled over stewing anyway and was betting that the young lamb would yield a grilled shoulder that was rich, tender and tasty. It was wonderful and ready in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Here it is for you to try. Pair it with a good Oregon Pinot Noir.
Feel free to add or substitute potatoes or turnips, add sundried tomatoes plumped up in hot water, and cilantro if you like it. And if you prefer a stew, go ahead and cut the shoulder into about 3” pieces. In a dutch oven, start with EVOO and onions, add lamb and spices, then the rest, cover and cook it in the oven for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Remove everything from the pot and keep warm while you reduce the juices and serve together.