Sunday, March 27, 2016

Leg of lamb tajine with prunes and almonds

Final product...
Easter weekend. What to make for dinner on a long holiday weekend and its raining outside? Something soupy and that warms up the body for sure. For some it may be comfort food like the Cottage Pie with Cheesy mashed potatoes or that warm but quick pho or that spicy and hot Nyonya curry noodles. I swear by these recipes. As I don't eat beef nor veal, I tend to substitute with either chicken or pork or lamb. 
Slightly browned onions...
For this holiday weekend, almost everyone swears by lamb or fish. Well we had fish on Wednesday and Thursday this week; that filled our fish quota for the week. And since lamb was on sale, why not. 
The browning of the lambs...
I first helped to cook this recipe with several mummy friends. We normally have this cooking session meet up during the winter months, at least once during the season. We made so much that it became lunch the next day for hubs and me. I was pleasantly surprised that O enjoyed this and he even suggested that I add in some chick peas next time. K was not that into this dish. 
Almost clean pan after heating some water to get more goodness out of it.

Plum prunes in black tea. 

This is a translated recipe from a French recipe site called The site is in French only and has really to go to recipes. I try my best in translating this and also add some pointers as to how I'd make this dish. Please feel free to click on the title below to go to the original recipe in French! :) 

  • 500g dried and pitted prunes
  • black tea (I make this from 5 teaspoon of loose Ceylon tea leaves with 700ml hot water)
  • 500g onions roughly chopped
  • some olive oil
  • 1.5kg leg of lamb in bite sized pieces (preferably without bones and as less fat as possible)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder (or half a stick of whole cinnamon stick)
  • 1/2 tsp of  ginger powder (or grated fresh ginger - about 1 tsp) 
  • 1 scoop of saffron powder (or about 5-10 saffron pistils) 
  • some crushed coriander seeds (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 100g blanch almonds
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • enough water to cover meat
  1. Soak dried prunes in black tea.
  2. fry the chopped onions in some olive oil until slightly translucent. Take out the onions and transfer them into a casserole pot. 
  3. In the same pan, brown your lamb pieces. The idea is to give them some colour and some say to seal in the good stuff. Do this in batches as it will be easier to brown. Transfer these into the same casserole pot. 
  4. Add in your cinnamon, ginger, garlic and saffron. You may also add roughly chopped carrots. 
  5.  Then pour in some water, until just enough to cover your meat. Turn on the heat to high until boiling and then to low to simmer for about 1 hour with the lid on. I normally pour some water into the still hot pan that I used to brown the meat to sort of "clean it" and bring the caramelised meat "leftovers" into the casserole pot.. 
  6. Once 1 hour is up, drain the soaked prunes and add them into the casserole. Continue to simmer for another 20 mins. Try drinking the tea from the soaked prunes. Very delicious! 
  7. Mean while, toast the blanched almonds in some butter and add these into the casserole with the 3 tbsp of honey. 
  8. Continue to simmer for another 5 mins with the lid off. Make final taste adjustments and it is ready to serve with couscous. 
Run out of blanched almonds, figured that non blanched ones will not make a lot difference...
I might make this again but will replace lamb with chicken tights. Someone in our household will go hungry just because he doesn't like lamb smell... :p I think eating lamb or even beef needs an acquired taste buds. Just like eating bitter gourd or coriander leaves. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

looks delicious, well done. If i may add i have a similar recipe that i copied and brought home, from one of my father in-laws french recipe books, my recipe does not have all of your ingredients but tastes absolutely yum as yours I'm sure did as well. As for the smell of lamb cooking, i understand... and tell that household person to taste first while pinching the nostrils.