This past summer we visited several cities in Spain and our favorite spot was Granada in Andalusia. The Alhambra was spectacular and the Zambra dancers put up a much better show than the more celebrated Flamenco dancers of Sevilla.
Due to its history and geographical proximity Granada has a strong Moroccan influence. We could see several Moroccan crafts stores lining the streets and you can’t leave Granada without enjoying tea at one of the teterias (Moorish tea room).
One of our most memorable meals in Spain was at a Moroccan restaurant in Granada. It was the first time ever we ate (& out of ) a Tagine. A Tagine is a clay pot with a conical lid. The food is cooked in it on slow heat & the moisture which stays inside due to the conical lid keeps the food moist & the meats tender. You could use a slow cooker but the clay definitely makes it taste better. Pictured below is what we ate in Granada. The one on the left is a Lamb tagine with vegetables and the one on the right is a chicken Tagine with Apricot & Pistachio.
As soon as we got back, we just had to buy a Tagine & look up recipes. This was our first attempt and it came out really really good and really easy to make.
So, here it goes…
- 2-3 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter)
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 1/4 pounds of lean lamb cut into chunks
- 8 oz moist pitted dates
- 1 tablespoon honey
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- a pat of butter
- 2-3 tablespoons blanched almonds
- 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios
- a small bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
- Few strands of Saffron
Place the tagine on a heat diffuser so that the heat is spread out evenly or else the tagine can crack. A heat diffuser is available in a lot of stores. We bought ours from Amazon. Heat the ghee (clarified Indian butter, found in Indian stores) in the tagine
Stir in the chopped onions and saute till light brown.
Stir in the turmeric, ginger and cinnamon.
Cut the meat into small pieces.
Add the meat and coat it with the spice mixture. Add enough water to cover the meat and bring it to a boil. Add a pinch of saffron.
Cover the tagine with the lid and cook on low heat for 1 1/2 hours.
Saute the pistachios and blanched almonds in the oil and butter. Add these and the dates to the tagine. Add the pepper and cover again for 30 minutes.
Garnish with parsley or cilantro.