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
- 3 teaspoons cumin seeds we used ground
- 3 teaspoons coriander seeds we used ground
- 3/4 teaspoons peppercorns we used ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika we used Hungarian
- 1 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons salt plus more, to taste (we used Kosher)
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 lb. boneless leg of lamb cut into 1-inch cubes (we just used stew lamb, which was perfectly sized)
- 1 yellow onion julienned
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 pound lb. small Yukon Gold potatoes halved (we ended up using aand it was perfect!)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
- 1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained, 15 oz.
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
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.
Oysters are amazingly delicious, but not easy to get in to. It can be intimidating to open an oyster, particularly after seeing the professionals use special chain-mail oyster-shucking glove and knife. After our jaunt to New Orleans in March, we decided not to be intimidated by oyster opening anymore. Plus, we really wanted to recreate the chargrilled oyster recipe from Acme Oyster house.
What you’ll need: An oven mitt, a flat-head screwdriver and a pairing knife serve as a low-cost alternative to the traditional tools.
First set the Oyster flat side up. Second, near the hinge, insert the flathead screwdriver between the shells. Then twist to pop the oyster open.
It might take a few tries.
Use the screwdriver to twist and pry the oyster all the way around if it doesn’t just pop open.
Eventually, you’ll see the oyster flesh.
Scrape the oyster from the top shell. Then lift the top completely off. Take the paring knife and release the oyster from the bottom shell. Now, you’re ready to move on to the recipe.
For the Chargrilled oysters, we adapted this recipe from Food.com to mimic the dish we had at Acme Oyster house.
When the oyster liquor starts to bubble, spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce on top of each, then top with 1 tablespoon of Romano cheese. Let the cheese melt. When oysters begin to slightly brown at the edges, remove from grill and place on a heat proof plate or tray. Top each oyster with an additional tablespoon of the butter sauce and serve immediately with slices of French bread for dipping. Garnish with minced Parsley. Serve while still sizzling with Lemon wedges and fresh bread.
Note: It stormed the day we made this and there was no way we were going to grill, so we just made use of the broiler on high in our oven. It worked perfectly. Just make sure to keep an eye on the dish while it is under the broiler, you can go from perfect to burnt pretty quickly.
The only thing missing was the family-style tables and neon signs.
Oyster shucking at home and chargrilled oyster recipe
- 12 in fresh shucked oysters on the half shell (we found these whole at Lucky'sour town)
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bunch green onions finely chopped
- 10 garlic cloves pureed
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1 ounce white wine
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
Place in a baking dish (we used a pie pan) filled with ice cream salt (to keep the oysters steady) with the meat up.
Melt half the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add your lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, green onions, and all herbs and seasonings.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, and then stir in the wine.
Keep stirring and remove from heat as soon as the green onions wilt. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the rest of the butter and stir until completely incorporated.
Heat grill to 350 degrees and place oysters without the sauce on the grill.