Kveller was recently introduced to personal chef Rebecca Bazini, who’s a French ex-pat cooking her way through New York City. She volunteered to share a couple of recipes with us that she promises aren’t too hard, and are a delicious and new spin on the traditional Ashkenazic Friday night Shabbat dinner.
Dried Fruit & Lamb Tagine with Minty Couscous
This is a very traditional Jewish Moroccan recipe that we typically have for lunch on Shabbat, but is also perfect for a Friday night dinner. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off! It really does not take a long time to prepare and it is very easy: once you have assembled all the ingredients together (about 25 minutes), all you need is to let it slow-cook for a couple of hours and that’s it. This dish is even better when prepared one or two days ahead.
2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder cut into cubes
5 medium onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 handful of dried apricots
1 handful of prunes
1 handful of sultanas raisins (you can use regular raisins or golden instead)
1 handful of almonds (skin off)
2 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pinch saffron
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make It:
1. Salt and pepper the lamb.
2. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a large casserole dish (like a Le Creuset) and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides. Then take them out and leave them aside covered with aluminium foil.
3. In the same casserole, add the onions and garlic over a gentle heat for about 15 minutes – or until the onions become soft and slightly colored.
4. Add the lamb cubes in the casserole, all the dried fruit (apricots, prunes, raisins, almonds), the fresh ginger, all the spices, the chicken stock (which should cover the lamb. If not, add some hot water in addition), and the cilantro.
5. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce to a very low heat and cook for two or two and a half hours–until the meat is meltingly tender. Taste regularly and rectify the seasoning if needed.
6 . Place the lamb in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over with some chopped herbs (cilantro, flat parsley or mint).
Ingredients for the Minty Couscous
2 – 3 cups couscous
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground curry
about 3 tsp salt
2 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
How to Make It:
1. Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the pack.
2. Add the cinnamon, the curry, the salt and mix well with a fork so there are no lumps. (If the couscous looks too dry, you can add a tablespoon or so of water and mix again.)
3. Add the mint and combine well.
Did we mention that if you live in the New York area you can hire Rebecca to come cook for you? Just send her an email at email@example.com and mention that you found her on Kveller.