My Spice Drawer

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Lamb Tajine

Slow cooking brings out the succulent flavour of the lamb. You can eat it the same day, but it is even better the second day.

 olive oil (4-5 tbsp, divided)
 2 tbsp Ras el Hanout
 2 tsp Punjabi Garam Masala, Mahaviras Feast or 1 tsp ground cumin
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 Zest of 1/2 lemon
 2 lbs lamb (shoulder chops work well)
 1 medium onion
 1/2 c golden raisins
 salt to taste
For Garnish:
  Chopped pistachios, chopped cilantro
In a large bowl combine 1 tbsp olive oil, the spices, garlic and lemon zest. Trim the fat off the lamb and cut into 1" cubes. Add to the marinade; if there are bones, add them as well to enhance the flavour of the dish. Mix with your hands until the lamb is evenly coated with the marinade. Let rest at room temperature for an hour or so. Meanwhile cut the onion into 1/2" dice. Rinse the raisins and cover with hot water, reserve.
Preheat oven to 300F. Heat a Dutch oven (or tagine) over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, when it is hot add 1/3 of the lamb. Let brown for 2 minutes then stir it around and cook another 2 minutes until evenly browned. Remove to a plate. Repeat twice more until all the lamb is browned.
Reduce the heat slightly and add more olive oil to the pot. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for 1 minute; be careful not to burn the fond. Return the lamb to the pot stir to combine and season with salt to taste (about 3/4-1 tsp). You don't need to add pepper as there is a perfect amount already in the Ras el Hanout and Garam Masala.)
Turn up the heat to medium high, add cold water so the lamb is nearly covered and bring to a simmer. Cover pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven. Bake for 1.5 hours stirring once or twice. After 1.5 hours, drain the raisins and stir into the lamb. Cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes or until the lamb is very tender.
When ready to serve, spoon lamb from the sauce so you can skim off the fat. If desired, reduce the sauce until slightly thicker. Return lamb to the sauce, garnish with chopped pistachios and chopped cilantro. Serve with couscous or rice and some Harissa on the side.

Serves 4.