This was another one of those dishes that, although it was delicious in its first incarnation, was even better as a gussied-up leftover. It makes sense, of course, since a tagine is a braised dish, which tends to be best on its second day. But this, I think, was particularly splendid.
Usually when we’re in the mood for tagine we make our standby, lamb with dried apricots and chickpeas. This time, though, I decided I really wanted to try an old favorite, a tagine of lamb with preserved lemon, peas and olives, which we hadn’t made for ages. We had to drive all the way to Bellingham for the preserved lemon, because I keep forgetting to make some, but it was worth it. Besides, it meant that we got to eat falafel and schawarma at Mediterranean Specialties for lunch that day.
Lamb Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives (with leftover soup option)
adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
- 2 lbs leg of lamb, cubed
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- pinch of chile flakes
- 1/4 tsp saffron
- 4 cups peas
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 preserved lemon, chopped
- 12 green olives (we used garlic stuffed olives, which actually worked spectacularly well)
- 1 or 2 cups Israeli or Lebanese couscous, cooked
- 1 can chickpeas (optional)
Combine the meat, oil, onion, salt and pepper, ginger, chile flakes and saffron in a large heavy pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook, covered, 1-1 ½ hours. Add water if necessary.
Add the peas, tomatoes, lemon and olives. Cook uncovered a few more minutes. Serve with couscous.
To turn the leftovers into soup the next day, add any leftover couscous to the tagine, along with a can of chickpeas and extra water or broth as necessary. Eat with bread and red wine: we had some wonderful fresh pita from a local bakery, and some leftover tempranillo. I can recommend it.