Slow-Cooker Lamb and Rhubarb Tagine
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Slow Cooker Lamb and Rhubarb tagine is such an easy way to get a Moroccan lamb tagine on the table for dinner, straight out of the slow-cooker.
I continually hear about people who haven’t tried cooking lamb. It really surprises me. I have been cooking with lamb for almost forty years. And back then it was a little harder to find, but I managed. At first I used to make quite a few Persian dishes, especially Khoreshe Bademjan which is stewed lamb with eggplant and fragrant spices. Later on I have enjoyed cooking numerous koftas and kebabs as well as Indian curries. And although the uses for lamb branch further afield, Middle Eastern cuisine has always been my mainstay for lamb.
Moroccan tagines are one of my favorite kinds of foods from Northern Africa. Generally that is named after the cooking vessel itself which is a domed covered clay baker. They come in different kinds- glazed and unglazed, some newer ones are prepared with cast iron and enameled. The unglazed ones are great for baking but will need to be seasoned first, and the glazed ones will require a diffuser for use on the stovetop and would be capped for oven use around 325° to 350ºF. They like gentle heat and don’t like sharp temperature changes, such as putting it on the stove from the refrigerator. Most of the ones that use a diffuser don’t recommend them with a glass stove top as they can scratch, But I have always set mine down gently and not pulled the tagine around after putting it on the duffuser, so haven’t had a problem there.
The thing about tagines is that the dome on it allows a circulation of sorts as the heat rises, condenses, and moves downward again because of the cone. It provides superior cooking for these type of meals.
However, not everyone has one (although I do have a few) and I have found you can get gorgeous results using the slow cooker to make the meat really tender.
I have paired my tagine with lamb and rhubarb in this recipe since it is time for Fantastical Food Fight and the food theme for February is rhubarb. Rhubarb can be a wonderful Spring vegetable, although it isn’t too much into season until a few months from now, I don’t have a hard time procuring it off-season.
I’ve seen lots of Middle Eastern recipes using this, especially Persian rhubarb khoreshes. And in some ways that is a little bit similar to tagine. There are a few spice changes there, particularly involving the cumin, harissa and ginger. Turmeric is also more present here although that is used in some Persian recipes.
And with rhubarb you might expect this to have a really fruity flavor (and it doesn’t)- the rhubarb mixes in well and contributes to a bit of tangy flavor but it’s appearance hides among the tomatoes. The little bit of sweetness in it is brought out by the cranberries. But don’t expect a really sweet or fruity dish either way.
Paired with couscous this makes an easy side as it cooks in just a few minutes. I also like this with salad, and I have a Persian salad if you want to peek. It might also be quite popular to serve this with fresh herbs, flatbreads and side dishes such as yogurt and hummus.
Let me know in the comments below if you like this or your experiences cooking with lamb. I might be inclined to post more if people are interested. I also like cooking with goat as well, which despite sounding strange, is quite similar to lamb in flavor and cooking technique.
And as usual, check out the other recipes in the linkup down the page.
Slow-Cooker Lamb and Rhubarb Tagine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1-1/2 pounds boneless lamb (for stew)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 onions, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 stalks rhubarb (remove any green leaves), chopped
- 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat oil in a skillet and add cinnamon sticks and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to sputter, add the lamb, salt and pepper, cooking to brown pieces. Place meat in the crock.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onions soften slightly and add to crock.
- Stir in the rhubarb, tomatoes, water, honey, harissa, ginger, paprika and turmeric into the pan, stirring to loosen the fond (browned bits in skillet) and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add to crock with the dried cranberries, stirring everything up.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
- Stir in the chopped parsley.
- Serve tagine with couscous or rice.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
February 2018: Rhubarb
Be sure to check out the other Fantastical Rhubarb recipes this month!
Click on the hop link button to be transported to the other recipes: