This year for my birthday, I was well and truly spoiled.
My parents bought me a beautiful cast iron tagine from Le Creuset.
A tagine is one of those cooking items that I probably wouldn’t buy for myself but I’ve always wanted. Like a fancy pairing knife or blender or crystal stemware. The truth is that kitchen appliances can run VERY expensive and while that can mean great quality, you can achieve the same result if you’re creative without spending the cash.
Which is why I want to stress that with THIS recipe, you could also use a slow cooker, or an oven safe pot with lid. While a tagine will trap and circulate moisture, the two other options listed WON’T so just add a bit of water (or wine!) while you’re cooking. Half a cup should do it and you can skip the tagine.
If you DO have a tagine, get that puppy out!
Tagines are most common for moroccan style cooking, so for my first tagine-recipe blog post (expect MANY) I thought I would take this lamb recipe (one of my favourites) and make some adjustments for slow cooking and winter flavour!
And so, my butternut squash & lamb tagine dish was born!
Lamb & Butternut Squash Tagine (serves 4-6)
- 2 lbs lamb shoulder
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 piece cinnamon bark
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2" piece fresh ginger, julienne
- 2 red Chile peppers, seeds removed and diced
- 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 6 green onion stalks, diced.
1) Take your lamb shoulder and remove excess fat. Cut the meat into 1" cubes and toss in red wine, set aside.
2) Grab your tagine and heat the bottom over medium heat**. When hot, add the olive oil, cinnamon bark and garlic and quickly toss, about 30 seconds. Add your lamb and any excess wine and sear closed then drop heat to lowest setting and cover the tagine. Let cook for 15 minutes.
**IF you're not using a tagine, use a frying pan for the first step, then transfer to your crock pot on low setting.
3) While the meat cooks through (check it every now and then, you still want it a bit pink in the middle when it's done!) prep your veggies.
4) Add your butter nut squash to the meat after 15 minutes and cover. Let the meat and squash continue to cook over low heat until the squash starts to become tender (but is still a little tough) then add your remaining veggies and toss.
5) Cover again and let sit until butternut squash is fully cooked. Serve your tagine dish with a side of delicious couscous (and ideally some wine!)
I honestly can't wait to do more cooking with my tagine. I have a harissa and lemon chicken dish I want to try, a few fish dishes, and some spiced winter stews with currants that I think will be SO tasty!
Get ready everybody, it's gonna be fun!
Your turn! Tell me, have you ever cooked with a tagine? Do you like Moroccan food? Are you just a sucker for slow cooked warm meals in the winter like I am? Tell me in the comments below!!
PS: Here's that lamb dish again! It's a quicker pan fried version without the squash I know you'll love!