French Weekends with Dorie: Lamb and Apricot Tagine

lamb and apricot tagine

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Lamb and Apricot Tagine, combines seared lamb chunks with a sweet and sour spiced sauce.  Inspired by Moroccan tagines, I cooked the lamb in an onion and tomato based sauce in a Dutch oven for an hour.  The result: a fragrant dish with plenty of sauce and onion chunks to sop up with white rice.

Different Cuts of Lamb

Lamb chunks can be made from different cuts.  While the recipe calls for lamb shoulder, we substituted it with leaner leg meat cubes.  Our friend Alice made her tagine using lamb neck, which are also meatier – almost a counterpart to veal or pork shanks.     Thanks to a quick survey in our group’s Facebook page, I receive the advice to reduce the cooking time so the lamb leg chunks wouldn’t toughen up.  At the 1 hour mark I removed the Dutch oven from the heat instead of the total suggested 75 minutes braising.  I could have probably stopped cooking the lamb and apricot tagine at the 50 minute mark.  While some chunks were tender the smaller ones were a little tougher.  Not any less delicious and nothing we couldn’t tackle with a steak knife.

Sweet and Coriander Sour

The sauce for the lamb and apricot tagine was flavored with different spices: garlic, ginger, cumin, saffron, cinnamon, dried chiles, and coriander.  The dried apricots (which I didn’t soak – mine were quite plump!), pureed tomatoes and onions lent the sauce its sweet side.  Citrusy coriander added the sour notes common in Moroccan tagines. Unfortunately, I thought the whole tablespoon of crushed coriander seeds completely overpowered the other spices.  I wished I could have gotten more cumin and cinnamon aroma and flavor.  It was tasty – just a little more one-note than what I would have liked for a dish with so many spices.

I was out (!) of diced tomatoes, so I dropped in a can of tomato puree and a handful of cherry tomatoes.  Those substitutions worked out well… they had to at Thursday night!

lamb and apricot tagine

The Verdict

I would love to make this dish again, but cutting back the coriander to one heaping teaspoon and likely wrapping up the seeds on a little cheesecloth.  It was a welcome departure from our usual dinner routine and relatively easy despite the 1.5 hours it takes to prepare from start to finish.

French Fridays with Dorie is an online group where home cooks/bloggers from all over the world work their way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  Want more cooking notes and mouthwatering pictures of  the Lamb and Apricot Tagine?  Click here!

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

15 Responses to “French Weekends with Dorie: Lamb and Apricot Tagine”

  1. December 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Yeah, I think Bill would have liked this dish if it was completely void of spices. The coriander and probably the cinnamon threw him for a loop. I used leg of lamb, too…I decided not to drive around the city trying to find shoulder. I really liked this 🙂

  2. December 13, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Love the “Mr. Jim” title, he’s gonna love that one. This was delicious and I remember having a dish in Paris exactly like this except the meat was chicken. We were really impressed. Yours
    looks wonderfully delicious.

  3. December 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    Because of the long cooking time, this seems like more of a weekend dish than a Thursday night one. Funny what you and Alice said about the coriander. I really enjoyed that flavor, especially when I got a bite with part of a seed. If you like The Food Seen, you will LOVE Radio Cherry Bombe.

  4. Mary Hirsch
    December 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    Good explanations about the whole process, Adriana. The meat you used, the substitutions you made and the end result. I really didn’t feel any of the spices nudged ahead in flavoring. I must admit that I cut back on the coriander before I pulverized the seeds and cut the onions by half. Still, it tasted just right. I do think you were ambitious to do this on a Thursday night after a full work week. The only thing that might be needed in this tagine is a splash of Siriacha and a half-jigger of Licor 43!!!

  5. December 14, 2014 at 12:42 am #

    Your tagine looks delicious. I have to admit, I am not a coriander fan, so I only put a pinch in mine.

  6. December 14, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Thanks for the info on the lamb. You were so smart to find out if there was a different cooking time for the cut you used. I have had really tough lamb and it is terrible. As for the coriander I use ground and just less than the recipe calls for because I don’t like the seeds either.

  7. December 14, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Not being an expert on braising, I was surprised to learn that braising for a longer time would make tender cuts of meat tougher. Very interesting!
    I will be making mine for dinner tonight! Happy to see the reviews in favor of this dish! Really
    looking forward to this one!
    Nice post, Adriana! Your tagine looks mouthwatering!

  8. December 14, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    Love dishes like this that are so full of flavour but also so easy! Yours looks really tasty!

  9. December 14, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    I should have stopped at onion number 3 also. I think I am the only one not on Facebook, LOL. Have a great week.

  10. December 15, 2014 at 1:23 am #

    I didnt have a problem with the intensity of the coriander, ours was pretty balanced but the coriander seeds themselves bothered me a bit. too tough and crunchy against the rest of the dish. I’d use powdered coriander next time but if I do, it won’t be a tablespoons worth. I think ground coriander is more potent – from experience.

  11. December 15, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    Your tagine looks wonderful. Coriander is quite a strong flavour, so I agree with your comments on cutting it back.

  12. December 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    You win the prettiest stew prize this week… just saying. 🙂

  13. December 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Ooh, I love lamb! This looks divine!

    • December 19, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

      Thanks! Happy you stopped by.

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