Today is Wednesday, and with this post, I am beginning to see the value of food blogging memes such as “ Wordless Wednesday “ , “ Photos Only Fridays “ and my favorite: “ Only Recipes on Every Other Month’s Second Thursday “ . I would normally eschew all things “wordless” as wordlessness is not a value I would normally cleave to. Please don’t act shocked! For me, the wordless food post is akin to dining alone; and dining alone when you are on the crowded internet is as sad as not dancing at your own prom.
Besides, it takes more than side dishes to make food into a meal doesn’t it?. We crave conversation! Who among us would not choose to have a portion of healthy conversation to digest along with our food?
Silence is a good choice if you are unlucky enough to be dining at my Aunt Christine’s house. If that were the case you might get good food but you certainly won’t get scintillating conversation. Every day is wordless Wednesday Christine’s as most meals are served in silence. Mostly this is because by the time dinner is ready her guests have usually been treated to at least four arguments between Christine and her fifth ex-husband. How is that for an appetizer?
Maybe that should be five arguments with her fourth husband? By the way, we call him her “fifth ex-husband” even though they are married because, well, we all know where this one is going. Or at least we continue to hope…
Dining with Aunt Christine’s husband is a fate that would move most atheists toward prayer just to avoid. Talk about the proverbial walking through a mine field. One never knows just what will set him off. I once asked him, “how is your son was doing?” and he ranted for 20 minutes about “those Wall Street crooks who steal from elderly people on pensions”. He was of course talking about his own son, a stock broker who lives nowhere near Wall Street. My aunt sets him off just by reminding him to wash his hands before sitting down at the table.
Our coping mechanism is to sit and eat in silence. Trust me, its better that way.
Today is Wordless Wednesday and we have photos to share with you:
As I was saying, sometimes bloggers actualy have nothing to say about food or its appearance. Wordless Wednesday comes in handy for those times. For me, blogging about this particular dish is certainly one of those times so thank god its Wednesday and I won’t have to resort to telling you about the many members of my family who don’t want to eat lamb because it is ‘gamey’. Where do they eat this poor gamey lamb anyway? I think they may have had some terrible lamb as a child because its not that hard to find tasty cuts of lamb that are fantastic.
I never ate much lamb as a child although I did take care of a ewe named Talulah one year at summer camp when I was 11 years old. The life expectancy of a sheep is also 11 years so I think it is safe to say Talulah ended up in someone else’s tagine many years ago. Suffice it to say I didn’t recognize anything about her in this dish, so I will have to keep the story of Talulah for another lamb centric post at a time in the future to be determined.
I genuinely loved this dish and will certainly want to make it again the next time lamb is on special. That in and of itself isn’t much of an anecdote to share over dinner and it isn’t enough to keep up my end of the conversation while we sit around this virtual table and consume our tagine. I don’t know anyone who has ever made it, referenced it, liked it, or even ordered it in a restaurant. Thank god for Wordless Wednesday.
Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricots
Stews are pleasing to make and eat, but they aren’t necessarily the most photogenic of dishes, are they? Hats off to bloggers who have somehow managed to take appetizing photos of foods such as this! Personally, I find that the photographic challenges make them a bit less lovely to blog about. That and the fact that I don’t have much to say about them other than that tagines are just North African stews cooked in a clay pot called a “tagine” — which is a remarkable coincidence when you think about it.
Nope. This week I have nothing about this dish I can relate to with you in order to make the narrative more appealing while you consume this tagine with me today. Sometimes folks I go to the well and I come up dry. Tagine. What can I possibly say about tagine?
Good thing this is Wordless Wednesday .
This is what you will need:
- can chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds 1? cubes lamb shoulder or leg or any parts you can get.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 garlic cloves (minced or pressed)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 teaspoons Ras-el-Hanout spice blend
- 2 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
- 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices
- 2 – 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup dried apricots cut lengthwise into thirds or fourths
- Steamed couscous
- Pinch of saffron
- Chopped fresh cilantro
This is how you make it:
- Drain and rinse chickpeas and set aside
- Season lamb with salt and pepper and brown in hot oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Work in batches to brown lamb on all sides –about 4 minutes per batch.
- When done transfer lamb to a bowl.
- Add chopped onion to pot; reduce heat to medium,
- season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and beginning to turn golden, scraping up the browned bits from the pan as you go –about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, Ras-el-Hanout, cinnamon and ginger.
- Stir for 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and lamb with any accumulated juices.
- Bring to a boil. Add 2 1/2 cups stock and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and leave partially covered and simmering (stirring occasionally) until lamb is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes
- Stir in chickpeas; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in apricots; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Steam couscous according to package instructions with a generous pinch of saffron in the steaming liquid.
- Spoon couscous onto a large, shallow platter, forming a large well in center.
- Spoon tagine into center.
- Sprinkle cilantro over.