Lamb Tagine

Don't hate me because my tagine is beautiful.  When you are lucky enough to have a friend who gives you a tagine for your birthday make sure you use it immediately!  I know it's 100 degrees out in the shade here in central Texas, but it's also pretty hot in Morocco and they eat tagine all the time.  So don't hesitate to make this recipe in the summer.

Lamb Tagine

1 lb. lamb stew meat

zest of one lemon

Za'atar seasoning (about 1/4 cup)

3 summer squash, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds

8 cremini mushrooms, sliced into 1/4" thick slices

1 large red onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 small bell peppers, cut into 1" dice

olive oil

salt/pepper

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup Israeli couscous

My tagine is made by Le Creuset and has a cast iron base that can be heated directly on the stovetop.  Over medium heat saute garlic, peppers and onion in olive oil til  softened.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Toss lamb cubes with 2 TBS za'atar and brown in base, adding olive oil if necessary.  Salt and pepper to taste, then add back onions/garlic/peppers and sliced mushrooms/squash, lemon zest, thyme sprigs and remaining za'atar.

Pour white wine over all and place lid on top.  Reduce heat to med-lo to lo.  You want to maintain a gentle simmer.  Cook for approximately 2 hours.  I stirred a couple of times during this process.

About 10 minutes before serving add 1 cup beef broth and couscous, stirring to mix.  Cook an additional 10 minutes.  The finished tagine unveiled:

The squash completely disappeared!  Just melted into the mixture, and the couscous was permeated with the seasonings.   Tender lamb with little areas of carmelization...heaven!  Makes enough to share with your pregnant best friend.

I know it's hot but just do it.  Millions of North Africans can't be wrong.