Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lamb Tagine and Cheesecake!

So we had dinner tonight, hoping for an exotic dish, and we didn't quite get what we were hoping for. We had lamb tagine with couscous, and it was really delicious with tender lamb, which I love, but I was hoping for more spice, or something. Here's the recipe:
Lamb Tagine from Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe cookbook
2 1/2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
Salt and pepper
3 T olive oil (I only used 2)
2 medium-large onions
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 T flour
1 1/2 t cumin
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/2 t corinader
1/8 t cayenne (optional)
2 1/4 c chicken broth
14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 c dried apricots or other dried fruit (I used prunes) roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
6 fresh cilantro sprigs
15 oz canned chickpeas
1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 c toasted slivered almonds (optional--I didn't use)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300.  Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat 1 T of the oil in a large oven-proof pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  cook the meat until well browned.  Remove from pan and set aside. 
3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 oil, and swirl to coat the pan bottom.  Add the onions and 1/4 t salt and cook, stirring frequently and vigorously, scraping the pot bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until  fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the flour, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, and cayeene (if using) and stir until the onions are evenly coated and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
4.  Gradually add the broth, scraping the pot bottom and edges with a wooden sppon to loosen the remaining browned bits and spices, and stirring until the flour is dissolved and the liquid is thick.  Stir in the tomatoes, prunes, bay leave, and cilantro sprigs and bring to a simmer.  Add the brownded lamb and accumulated juices in the bowl, pushing down the meat to submerge the pieces.  Return to a simmer, cover the pot, and place it in the oven.  Cook for 1 1/4 hours.
5. Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the chickpeas.  Cover and return the pot to the oven.  Cook until the meat is tender and the chickpeas are heated through, about 15 minutes.  Spoon off any fat that rises to the top if serving immediately, and if not, stew can be kept covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
6. Discard the bay leaves and cilantro sprigs.  Stir in the minced cilantro and adjust the seasonings.  Serve immediately with couscous or basamati rice.

So the calories on this without the rice or couscous were 304/serving for 8 servings. The boys, Aaron included, gave it an 8, and I gave it a 7. It was good, just not what I was hoping for.

So the cheesecake we made because we had guests for dinner, and so the boys voted for this dessert. I was going to make this on my birthday for myself, but they decided we had to try it now. This was amazing. It was Junior's Devil's Food Cheesecake, and it was worth the calories, which were out of control :).  For 1/32 of the cake, yes I'm serious, the calories were 492. Sigh. This was heavenly, the frosting Aaron said was the best he has ever had, and it was so rich and creamy and chocolatey and great. Aaron gave it a 9, and he doesn't like cake or cheesecake, so go figure. The boys and I gave it a perfect 10. Too bad it is sooo crazy bad for us.  Sorry about the uninspiring picture, it really looks better and tastes better than that, I just didn't get a good picture.  So in spite of the bad picture, I suggest making it anyway :).

Tomorrow we're having a chicken dish.


  1. How did you make that cake with cream cheese? It looks very different from cheese cake. Love mom

    1. You make an actual cheesecake, then layer it with frosting and devil's food cake. Pretty amazing and pretty fattening :)

  2. Man that cake was SOOOOO delicious. But I kind of had an overload. Super-Rich!