LAMB TAGINE WITH APRICOTS + OLIVES

LAMB TAGINE WITH APRICOTS + OLIVES

TIME: 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES, PLUS AT LEAST 1 HOUR MARINATING

YIELD: 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

A fragrant mix of spices including ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and saffron gives this North African stew its robust character and seductive aroma, which will perfume your whole kitchen once you take the top off the pot. Serve it with flatbread or couscous to soak up the juices. You won’t want to leave any behind.

INGREDIENTS:

3 pounds bone-in lamb stew meat or lamb neck, fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch chunks

2¼ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1 small cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¾ teaspoon ground turmeric

¾ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1½ cups lamb or chicken stock, preferably homemade (this page)

5 ounces (1 cup) dried apricots, halved or quartered if large

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving

Large pinch of saffron threads

FOR SERVING

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup slivered blanched almonds

⅓ cup sliced pitted green olives (optional)

2 scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Fresh lemon juice, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the lamb and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Let sit for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours in the fridge.
  2. Turn the pressure cooker to the sauté function (or heat a skillet over medium-high heat). Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until hot. Add the lamb pieces in batches, leaving room around each piece (this will help them brown), and cook until well browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. If the pan looks dry, add a bit more oil as you go. Transfer each piece of the lamb to a bowl once it browns.
  3. Add another tablespoon of the oil to the pressure cooker (or skillet), and let it heat for a few seconds. Then add the onions and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, fresh ginger, 1 cinnamon stick, and the ground ginger, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. If you used a skillet, transfer the mixture to the pressure cooker. Add the lamb and any juices in the bowl, along with the stock, apricots, cilantro, and saffron. Cover and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the butter and cinnamon stick over medium heat. Add the almonds and a pinch of salt; cook until the almonds are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a large bowl. Turn on the sauté function and simmer the sauce until it is thickened to taste, 5 to 10 minutes; adjust the seasonings if necessary. Stir in the lamb, and the olives if using.
  7. To serve, transfer the lamb and sauce to a serving platter. Top with the toasted almonds and any butter in the skillet, along with the olives (if using), scallions, parsley, and more cilantro. Sprinkle with lemon juice to taste.

COOK IT SLOW

Cook on high for 7 to 9 hours or low for 10 to 12 hours.

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