One of the hardest parts about giving up six main food groups and items for baby A (she has protein digestion issues so I’m not eating dairy, wheat, eggs, fish, soy or peanuts) is finding quick, easy weeknight meals. Through a lot of trial and error, J and I have learned that some meals that look easy aren’t and some that look time-consuming are actually simple. This is a simple one. We’d put off making Lamb Tagine with Potatoes and Chickpeas from Williams Sonoma because it looked complicated. We were throughly surprised to learn it was easy and perfect for a busy weeknight.
Lamb Tagine with Potatoes and Chickpeas
In a small fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the cumin and coriander seeds, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a spice grinder, add the peppercorns, paprika, ginger and the 2 tsp. salt and grind until well combined. Set aside. If using ground, skip the grinding step and just combine in a small bowl. Mix with a fork.
In a tagine over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until almost smoking. Working in batches, brown the lamb on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. If you don't have a tagine, we used our most favorite pasta pot.
Add the remaining oil and the onion to the tagine or pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and the spice mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized, about 2 more minutes.
Add the lamb, water, potatoes and the 1/4 cup cilantro and bring to a simmer.
Cover the tagine or pot and adjust the heat so the mixture gently simmers.
Cook for 45 minutes, then add the chickpeas and lemon juice.
Continue cooking until the lamb is tender, about 45 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Garnish with cilantro and serve. Accompany with couscous or rice.
I LOVE this dish. It’s flavorful and warming and just delicious. It’s as good cold as it is right from the stove.
One of J’s favorite dishes is his father’s chili. It makes more than enough for three meals and a few lunches for us. Like most of our favorite meals, this one gets better the longer it simmers. It looks complicated, but I promise it’s easy and worth it.
Add the chopped bell peppers and onions and cook until desired caramelization.
In a separate pot make the sauce by adding the first 11 ingredients and simmering for about 45 minutes until smooth.
Then add the tomatoes and meat and peppers and onions. Simmer one to two hours.
Add 1 to 4 tablespoons massa flour to thicken if needed (most of the time we leave this step out).
My opinion: This is delicious with shredded Monterrey jack cheese, lime juice and tortilla chips. J prefers his with corn bread. It’s perfect for a cold winter’s night.
There’s a Lebanese restaurant in Cleveland, Taza, that J and I LOVE. We eat there nearly every time we’re in town. Until now, the recipe for their delicious lamb kofta has eluded us. This weekend when everyone else was grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, J finally managed to perfect this recipe with the help of Arabic Food Recipes kitchen.
Kofta Ingredients (plus our modifications):
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (fresh makes a HUGE difference!)
2 tablespoons grated fresh onion (we used white and about 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons 2% Greek-style plain yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric (we used slightly more)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (we used slightly more)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound lean ground lamb
Combine cilantro and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. We used a spatula to combine it all. Shape into 12 oblong patties around pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Don’t try to make them too big, the weight will cause them to fall off the skewer. Spray a grill tray with cooking spray and set the skewers on the grill tray. Grill for about 10 minutes per side (you’ll know it’s time to turn when the edges are a bit crisp). Tip to flip: don’t lift the kofta, roll it over using tongs or two forks.
Harissa Yogurt Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup 2% Greek-style plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (we’ll use more next time)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Harissa Yogurt Sauce Directions:
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit for about half an hour in the refrigerator. Mix again. Serve sauce with kofta.
I couldn’t stop eating this dish. When it was gone, I wanted more. The only change I’d make in the future is to add more spice to the Harissa Yogurt sauce. I can’t wait until we make this again.
If you’re looking for a way to add spice, but don’t want to use Srichacha sauce, this is a great alternative. J and I have used it in stir fry already and it is delicious!
4 ounces (about 18) dried hot red New Mexico chili peppers
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
7 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
Cut off stems and soak peppers in warm water until soft; drain and squeeze out any excess water. Grind peppers in a meat grinder, as North Africans do. Or place these in a food processor, processing with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the garlic cloves, cumin, coriander and salt. The consistency should be a thick puree, the color of deep red salmon. Transfer to a jar, add the remaining olive oil, cover and refrigerate.
Let the mixture sit for a few days before using, until the harissa becomes less opaque. Use sparingly, because it’s very hot.
It started out mouth burning hot. So hot we were wondering what on earth we would use it on. After a few hours the flavors mellowed and the heat became much less searing. It added just the right amount of kick to a stir fry. Srichacha may have competition in our house!
The best tortilla soup is either at Luby’s in San Antonio or Magnolia’s in Austin. Seeing as how I no longer live in Texas, it was high time I learned to make this amazingly tasty, wonderful, cold winter night meal.
Copycat Luby's Tortilla Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 poblano pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves we were out, it is winter after all!
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 avocado diced
- tortilla chips broken
In a large heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, salt, cumin, and coriander for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice, and stir well. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
We modified and put everything in the crockpot minus the tortilla chips and avocado. Let it cook on medium for about 6 hours. In the future, we’ll up the spices and use more jalapenos. It was very close to Luby’s version.
Don’t forget! #cookchat
this Thursday, January 20 at noon! Hope to see you there!