Usually, I make my lamb tagine with dried apricots using shoulder pieces. It’s always a treat!
This time I wanted to give it a little more festive air, since it was the dish I proposed for my husband’s birthday meal. So I preferred to use lamb shanks.
The presentation is immediately more pleasant and it’s even better.
For dried apricots, I gave them to my children for a very long time, thinking that they were good for them. And then, I stumbled upon a report on the production of these little orange jewels with such a pleasant taste. We discovered that to obtain this beautiful orange color, the apricots are placed, before drying in the sun, under a tent, for a whole night, to gorge themselves with sulfur fumes. Since then, I only choose dried apricots that are not treated with sulphur. They have a darker, almost black color, less appealing perhaps, but they are definitely healthier. In the last Degustaboxthere were just delicious non-sulphurized apricots from the brand Seeberger. I enjoyed them very much.
This tajine is very pleasant to taste, simply accompanied by semolina. It is also very simple to prepare, since the cooking is done quietly in the oven, in a casserole.
The scents are wonderful.
4 lamb shanks
1 heaped tsp ras el hanout
1 stick of cinnamon (from Ceylon)
1 small red pepper (optional)
350ml vegetable stock
1 nice tbsp of honey
200g dried apricots (unsweetened)
100 g skinless almonds
In a casserole, brown the mice in a little oil. They should be golden on all sides.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In the pan, sauté the chopped onions for 2 minutes.
Add the grated ginger, then the ras el hanout.
Let sauté for about 30 seconds.
Return the golden mice to the casserole.
Add the broth, the open pepper without the seeds, the cinnamon stick and the honey.
Bring to the boil, then place the closed casserole in the oven.
Bake for 50 minutes.
Add the dried apricots and almonds then continue cooking for 15/20 minutes.
Add fresh cilantro when it comes out of the oven.
Serve with semolina.
To finish: normally, there is 1 mouse per person. If you have guests, that’s what it will take. For me, it’s too much, especially if you eat other things on the side. As there was some left over the next day, I simply put the casserole dish back in the oven to reheat the tagine.
To have skinless almonds, simply immerse them for 1 minute in boiling water. The skin will then peel off very easily.
After taking stock of the non-parchment apricots, iI still have to come back to the cinnamon. You may have noticed that I always recommend using cinnamon of Ceylon rather than that of China, which one unfortunately finds far too often. In terms of taste, Chinese cinnamon or cassia cinnamon, is much worse. It also contains coumarin, a substance toxic to the liver.
The ambiguity between the two cinnamon is great (and certainly well maintained) for the names given to them are many. I still smile thinking back to the spice vendor who tried to make me believe that his cassava cinnamon was perfect, because it didn’t come from China. Subtle and dishonest!
You can recognize Chinese cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon by their appearance. The latter consists of very friable thin sheets. They are also clearer. I brought back a nice quantity of sticks from Greece. It is now found in powder form in supermarkets under the Vahiné brand.