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!
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!