New Year comes with new resolutions, although this year they are similar to last's: cook healthier and reduce desserts as much as possible to include more savoury dishes on the blog and shed some pounds.
That might be a difficult task to do as desserts are my main interest. However I've recently realised most of the nice savoury recipes I cook never get to this blog as they are finished too soon and I'm so keen on cooking and trying ideas with sweet that I don't really have the time for savoury.
But this must change now and what a better way to start the year with a recipe from renowned book author Claudia Roden.
It's from the amazing book Arabesque featuring recipes from culinary hotspots Morocco, Lebanon and Turkey. As with most of her recent books - I want to try every recipe in and even the scarcity of photos is tickling the imagination and curiosity pushes me to check how exactly these dishes would look like when cooked and I feel free to interprete and adapt (which I did).
I got my hands on a clay tagine dish these days and of course what was the first thing I would try and cook in it? Of course a lamb tagine. To make use of some quinces I also happened to have at home what a relief to find out a lamb and quinces tagine in this marvellous book?
To be honest, at first looking at the ingredients I thought the taste was going to be too bland - as spices are not much or in large quantities. But they turned out to be just right - not overpowering in any way, but complementing the tastes.
I did some frivolities with the recipe as adding some dried prunes, changing the method to a simpler one (because of a lack of time) and adjusting the spices a bit. The result was amazing! It's definitely a recipe to revisit. Or at least try its version with pears.
Lamb Tagine with Quinces, Dried Prunes and Lemon&Parsley Couscous
1.7 kg lamb shoulder diced roughly
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 and 1/2 quinces
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp saffron
salt, plenty of black pepper (1 full tsp)
2 large onions sliced
12 dried prunes
3-4 tbsp fresh coriander
lemony couscous with fresh parsley
250 g couscous
350 ml boiling water
juice of half lemon
4-5tbsp olive oil
freshly chopped parsley leaves
Cut the lamb and add the lemon juice. Leave for some 30 minutes to marinate.
Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a pan and brown the meat for 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and spices and leave to the moderate to high heat for more 15-20 minutes. Finally add the peeled and chopped quinces and the prunes.
Transfer to an oven dish or tajine and bake for 2 hours at 180 degrees C.
Serve with couscous.
To prepare the couscous:
Cover the couscous with half of the boiling water and add the rest gradually. Add the olive oil, salt and lemon juice and mix well until fully absorbed. Finally add the parsley leaves.
Mix well and serve.