A couple of months ago, an old friend of ours (Drew) married a new friend of ours (Bridget). They provided a generous budget and I provided a generous wine list for their grand event. After the honeymoon they invited us over for dinner. I was impressed at this amazing meal in the middle of Bridget’s hectic work week. But when she shared her recipe I saw that it’s made in a slow cooker – this is a dish you can enjoy any night of the week! That impresses me even more.
Because of the slow cooking, the lamb practically melts in your mouth. And this dish has a sweetness that balances its acidity, reflecting and complimenting the dynamic in a good Pinot Noir.
Ingredients (Serves 4+)
|3 Lbs lamb (1/2” cubes of shoulder or leg)||1 Bunch fresh cilantro|
|1 Clove garlic, chopped||2 Tbsp butter|
|2 Tomatoes, chopped||2 Large sweet onions, halved and sliced thin|
|1 Tbsp ground cinnamon||1 ½ tsp Ground cumin|
|2 tsp Sugar||¾ Cup golden raisins|
|Salt and ground black pepper||2 Cups instant couscous, cooked in lightly salted water and fluffed with a fork|
|1 Tbsp tom paste (if tomatoes under-ripe)|
7 Hours Before Serving
In a 4-Qt Crock Pot (slow-cooker), add all the ingredients from the first column (above) with a ½ Cup of water. Keeping the Cilantro in its bunch, trim the stems and tie them together with kitchen string, setting the leaves aside. Nestle the stems into the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove and discard the stems prior to serving.
30 Minutes Before Serving
Thirty minutes before serving time, Put the butter, onions and cumin in a sauté pan and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. When onions are a deep golden brown, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
20 Minutes Before Serving
Skim off as much of the fat from the Tagine as possible and remove the embedded stems. Reserving a few for garnish, roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stir them with the raisins into the tagine. Turn the slow cooker to high and continue to cook, uncovered.
About 10 Minutes Before Serving
Prepare the couscous according to package directions.
Spoon the couscous onto a serving platter and top with the lamb, then the caramelized onions and finally the whole cilantro leaves you set aside.
Dave the Wine Merchant