On a cool sum­mer evening at the FC’s grand­par­ents home on the Cote D’Azur, I was treated to the most deli­cious lamb and apri­cot tagine.  I kept serv­ing myself more (sec­onds, thirds)  hop­ing no one would notice, and pan­icky as I saw oth­ers also div­ing in.  Would there be enough for fourths? I could barely focus on the din­ner party con­ver­sa­tion, too busy think­ing about how I could score another spoon­ful with­out rais­ing eyebrows.

Nadette and Henri’s cook, Rose, con­sis­tently blows my mind with her sim­ple, home­style French cook­ing.  This tagine (which served twelve that night)  is one of my favourites and when the FC asked for the recipe, Rose kindly sent us a scan from her  book. (Alas, the book is not den­ti­fied here, but I intend to find her source,  promise!)   Unlike other Mor­roc­can lamb stews,  the recipe doesn’t call for extra veg­eta­bles or canned toma­toes, it’s just lamb, onions, dried apri­cots, spices, and water.  So basic, I love that.   I also love the sweet syrupy tex­ture the apri­cots add to the stew. Divine.

I made the tagine last night for a win­ter din­ner party and it was a huge hit.  Just like Rose, I served it with polenta instead of the tra­di­tional cous­cous. It’s just the per­fect (and crazy-easy) com­pli­ment for this dish.   For the veg­e­tar­i­ans, I made Julia’s Child rata­touille, which also pairs nicely with polenta but a sim­ple salad would work too if you’re not cater­ing to her­bi­vores (who I totally respect, by the way!)

Here’s the recipe. It serves six, but you can eas­ily dou­ble it, as Rose did, for big­ger groups.  Serve directly from the pot, buf­fet style, so your guests can dive right in (and you don’t have to deal with arrang­ing indi­vid­ual plates, which always leaves the first per­son wait­ing politely as their food turns to ice.  Just watch out for the glut­tons (like me)  this dish goes fast.

The recipe is in French so you’ll have to trans­late, as I did.  But the dish itself is a breeze.  (Quick Note On The Lamb Prepa­ra­tion: The recipe calls for forty-five min­utes of sim­mer­ing, but I dou­bled this (mak­ing sure to add the apri­cots only for the last twenty min­utes.) You can’t really over­cook lamb shoul­der, it just gets more and more melt-in-your-mouth ten­der. I also asked the butcher to leave a few bones in some of the meat cubes, for added flavour. Quick Note On the Polenta: I dou­bled Giada De Lau­ren­tis’  recipe,  adding less but­ter and about 1/2 cup of grated parme­san for extra kicks. )

Bon appetit!

2 Responses to “Winter Dinner Party — Rose’s Tagine With Polenta”

  1. 1
    Andrea Glenn Says:

    I made this for some friends tonight and it was amaz­ing. Added bonus: brush­ing up on my French with some help from google trans­late. Well worth the work. Thank you!

  2. 2
    laura Says:

    Andrea, I’m so glad it worked out for you. And bravo on the French.

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