We enjoy many different types of lamb dishes and one of our favorites are lamb chops. Although they are delicious simply grilled with garlic and herbs, this one pot dinner is an excellent alternative. We used a tajine to cook the dish, but it could just as easily be entirely cooked in a skillet. Finishing the lamb chops in the rice and tomatoes keeps it moist and tender. Similar to cooking with wine, when cooking with olives it is always important to use an olive that you would eat on its own without adding it to a dish.
We purchased a decorative tajine during our trip to Morocco, but it was too small to use for actual cooking. Since we really wanted to try and recreate some of the meals that we ate, we ended up buying a full size tajine and have used it several times. We made our version of a Moroccan beef with sweet potatoes that had a nice spice and made for a wonderful meal. Although we cooked it in a tajine, a Dutch oven works just fine as well. The meat was very tender and the spices were warm and fragrant, but not spicy. It was an easy dish to make for a weeknight meal for the two of us, but could easily be done for a larger gathering as well.
1 lb Beef Shoulder Roast – cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Shallots – quartered
2 Garlic Cloves – thinly sliced
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes – undrained
1 Large Sweet Potato – peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
Combine the paprika, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Toss the beef cubes with the spice mixture being sure that each piece is evenly coated. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the shallots and beef and cook for about 4 minutes until the beef is browned on all sides. Add the garlic and cook for another minute and then transfer the beef, shallots, and garlic to the tajine including all of the pan drippings (if using a Dutch oven, the beef can be browned in the Dutch oven). Add the sweet potato, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes to the tajine and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Place the lid on the tajine an place in the center of a pre-heated oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for about an hour and a half or until the potatoes are fork tender. Serve as a stew or over a bed of rice.
One of our favorite memories of our trip to Morocco was having lunch at a small, family-owned restaurant where they cooked us chicken in a tajine. Tajines themselves are quite beautiful, but they are also functional for cooking one pot meals. We bought a tajine while we were in Morocco, but it was too small to actually cook a dinner so we recently bought a full-size tajine. As we continue to try to replicate meals that we have had during our various travels, we decided to cook a Moroccan chicken dinner. There were some fairly unique ingredients in the recipe that we decided to use and modify, but we were actually surprised that we were able to find them in our local grocery store. Typical of Moroccan food, it was both sweet and spicy and it could easily be modified to suit any taste. The original recipe called for chickpeas, but our family has an allergy to them, so we substituted potatoes, which made it a little hardier. We were very pleased with the results and found the dinner to be very delicious. Because it was just the two of us, we made only cooked two chicken thighs, but the recipe could be increased to serve a larger family. Also, if you don’t have a tajine, you could simply use a Dutch oven instead.
Two Chicken Thighs – skin on
1 tbsp Canola Oil
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion – peeled and sliced thinly
1 Garlic Clove – finely chopped
1 tbsp Ras Al-Haunt
1 Large Pinch Saffron – soaked in a 1/4 cup of warm water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the oven is preheated, place the tajine into the oven to start heating. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down and cook until the skin is golden brown, approximately five minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue cooking for another two to three minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and let it rest. Reduce the heat to medium and remove all but one tablespoon of oil from the skillet. Add the onions and cook until soft and semi-translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about thirty seconds, then add the ras al-hanut and cook for another thirty seconds. Add the saffron with the liquid it was soaked in as well as the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, potatoes, apricots and bring to a simmer. Remove the tajine from the oven and transfer the vegetables and liquid from the skillet to the tajine. Nestle the chicken thighs on top of the vegetable mixture, put the lid on the tajine and return it to the oven. Cook in the oven for forty minutes. While the chicken is cooking in the oven, mix the creme fraiche, harissa, and salt and let stand in the refrigerator for thirty minutes. Plate individual servings of chicken and vegetable mixture. Garnish each serving a tablespoon or two of the harissa sauce.