This post was a win on multiple levels. Firstly, Nathan ate beans without finding them repulsive. Secondly, we made a ‘stew’ that didn’t come out tasting muddy or mushy or having any of the other offensive qualities that stews and curries can contain. This mythical dish is called a Tagine, a stew of Moroccan and Algerian origin that involves slow cooked meat, exotic spices and usually the addition of dried fruits to give it some sweet/savory complexity. We made our Tagine with slow cooked, tender lamb shoulder, cinnamon infused chickpeas, a spice blend called Ras-el-Hanout, plenty of fresh ginger, onion, tomatoes, and sweet apricots. The result was a decadent and complex meal overflowing with flavor…the perfect winter comfort food. If you’ve never tried a Tagine make this one!
We decided to choose a sweeter wine to pair with the Tagine that would bring out the sweetness of the apricots in the stew. This Riesling had a great balance of acidity and juiciness that provided a bright contrast to the earthy and rich stew. This Riesling would be awesome with any spicy dishes…I’m going to try it with a Thai or Indian curry next.
Nathan’s Beer Pairing: On The Wings of Armageddon Imperial IPA, DC Brau Brewing
Rating: 9.25 out of 10.0
Hands down one of the best imperial IPAs that I have had the pleasure of drinking and it is a local brew to boot! I have always like Imperial IPAs better than regular IPAs because I feel that the balance of hops and malt in the imperial makes for a better beer. The higher ABV doesn’t hurt either! The smooth carbonation and hops helped to wash down the rich lamb and spices while the malt and body of the beer allowed it to stand up to the dish as a whole.
Adapted from this recipe
½ cup dried chickpeas
3 garlic cloves (1 whole, 2 chopped)
1 large cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
1.5 pounds 1″ cubes lamb shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ large onion, diced
2.5 teaspoons Ras-el-Hanout spice blend
1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices
1 ¼ cups (or more) low-salt chicken stock
⅓ cup halved dried apricots
Chopped fresh cilantro
1. Place chickpeas in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 2″. Let soak overnight.
2. Drain chickpeas; return to same saucepan. Add the whole garlic clove and cinnamon stick. Add water to cover by 2″. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain; set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a medium bowl. Add onion to pot; reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, Ras-el-Hanout , and ginger. Stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and lamb with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil. Add 1 ¼ cups stock. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
4. Stir in chickpeas; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in apricots; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Spoon couscous onto a large, shallow platter, forming a large well in center. Spoon tagine into center. Sprinkle cilantro over.