Today we are going to Muse about cooking. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
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Jeanette and I are whipped. We just played a two-day tournament at the National Croquet Center in the heat. Here she is in her last match.
When she was done we both retreated to our air-conditioned abode and collapsed. So . . . we are not going to muse about that. We will talk about our recent dinner party instead.
On occasion I get into the mood to cook. When that happens we normally get friends together to share the outcome. Since we recently traveled in Morocco we decided to have a Moroccan theme dinner: Lamb Tagine.
The first step of course was to send out the invitations:
That was the easy part. The dinner took a bit more work.
The recipe, which I will include for those who wish to cook, calls for many spices plus prunes, onions, raisins, ginger and lamb shanks.
When I cook I like to assemble all the ingredients in their correct measure first. That is what you see here.
The cooking starts with the onions.
While this is underway, the lamb shanks are assembled in the dutch ovens. No … we don’t have ceramic tajine cookers.
This process is closely followed by the quality control supervisor.
The prunes are added to the onions.
And when ready these are spread over the lamb.
The dutch ovens are sealed with foil and covered with the lid before heading into the oven.
After three plus hours it is ready. For our dinner I did this ahead because, you know, there are other things that have to be done: starters, soups and desserts. And place cards for the seating:
And the table must be set.
We have fun doing it.
Ingredients serves 6
6 pounds lamb shanks salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions,thickly sliced
Pinch of saffron threads
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and slivered
1 small cinnamon stick
1 rounded teaspoon coriander seeds
1 rounded teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 scant teaspoons cayenne
1 cup golden raisins
2 cups pitted prunes
4 cups chicken broth or water
1 cup tomato purée
For the garnish:
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup whole blanched almonds
large pinch of salt
small pinch of sugar
What to do:
- Season lamb generously with salt and pepper and set aside for 2 hours (or refrigerate overnight). Preheat oven to 325.
- Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions, season with salt and crumble saffron over them. Sauté over medium heat until softened and lightly browned. Add garlic, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, powdered ginger and cayenne. Stir together, remove from heat and correct the seasoning. Add raisins and half of the prunes.
- Put the lamb in an enamel ware Dutch oven and spread the onion mixture over the meat. Stir together broth or water and tomato purée and pour over. Cover the Dutch oven with foil and tight-fitting lid.
- Bake for about 3 hours, or until the meat is melting.
- Remove the foil and lid. Add the second cup of prunes and submerge them. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Return the lamb to the oven, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, to let it brown a bit.
- Carefully lift meat from the sauce and put in a wide bowl or storage container. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. If the sauce seems thin, pour it into a low saucepan and reduce over high heat. Check the seasoning and adjust. Pour the sauce over the meat and let it cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.
- Next day, remove and discard any congealed fat. Gently reheat the stew, covered in a low oven.
- Just before serving, fry the almonds for the garnish. Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat and fry the almonds gently, stirring occasionally. When the almonds are golden, blot on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and sugar.
- Transfer tagine to a warmed platter and scatter almonds over lamb.
more to come
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