Photo by by Annaliese Bischoff
Provenance of Dish
Inspired by a New York Times recipe for lamb tagine, I have created a recipe that celebrates mushrooms with spices. During the current pandemic, I am utilizing my pantry, cutting down on meat, and trying to minimize trips to the market. This is one dish that emerged this winter.
1 shoulder lamb chop (@4oz) cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
12 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
1 ¼ cups mushroom or chicken stock
½ cup dry red wine
5 ounces (1 cup) dried apricots
½ teaspoon ground sumac
1 tsp. sweet paprika
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Large pinch saffron
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, sliced into thin rounds
½ preserved lemon
1 tbl. tomato paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks, divided
3 tbl. fresh cilantro, chopped and divided
3 tbls. flat Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup whole roasted almonds, crushed into pieces in mortar and pestle
fresh lemon slices
(to serve with large pearl couscous)
In a bowl, combine lamb and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour.
In a small pot, bring stock to a boil. Remove from heat, add wine, apricots, and spices (sumac, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, ground cinnamon, and saffron). Let sit about 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a tagine, Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid, warm @ 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until hot. Add lamb to pot to brown. Cook until well browned about 8-10 minutes. Transfer pieces to a plate.
Add sliced mushrooms, onions, carrot, preserved lemon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste, fresh ginger and 1 cinnamon stick. Cook about 2 minutes. Add lamb, the apricots and spiced stock, and half the cilantro. Cover pot with foil and then its lid, and cook in oven for 1 ½ -2 hours, or until lamb and mushrooms are tender. (If using a tagine, you don't need to use foil.) Taste and season, if necessary.
In a small skillet, heat butter and 1 cinnamon stick over medium heat. Add almonds and 1/4 teaspoon salt, to cook until golden brown about 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick.
Serve with large pearl couscous. Spoon the dish on top and then sprinkle with toasted almonds, parsley, and remaining cilantro. Squeeze fresh lemon juice to taste.