Friday, October 3, 2014

Okra is served often in tagines of lamb, where it is a good accompaniment to tomatoes, quinces, small sweet apples, pears, zucchini, and a vegetable very similar to yellow squash called slaoui. One rarely finds okra served alone, though I have heard of a dish prepared in Fez made of pureed okra cooked with onions, green coriander, and parsley.

Working time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
  • 2½ to 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1½-inch chunks or 5 or 6 thick chops
  • 2 tablespoons salad oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh green coriander (optional)
  • 1½ pounds fresh okra or 2 ten-ounce packages frozen whole okra
  • 6 red, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 1 eight-ounce can Italian tomatoes, drained, seeded, and chopped

Direction:
  1. Lightly brown the lamb on all sides in the oil and butter. 
  2. Add the onion, garlic, salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and the other spices. 
  3. Pour over enough water to almost cover the meat and bring to a boil. 
  4. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour. 
  5. Remove the cinnamon sticks. 
  6. Add the herbs and continue cooking the tagine 15 minutes. 
  7. Up to this point, the dish can be prepared in advance. 
  8. Forty minutes before serving, preheat oven to 350°. 
  9. Transfer the lamb to the shallow ovenproof dish. 
  10. By boiling rapidly, uncovered, reduce the sauce to 1 cup in the casserole. 
  11. Wash, top, and tail the okra. 
  12. Cut very large okra pods in half. 
  13. Put them in the saucepan and boil, with a few tablespoons sauce, salt, and ½ cup water, for 5 minutes, covered. 
  14. Drain. 
  15. Arrange the okra over the meat and cover with sauce and the chopped tomatoes
  16. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  17. Cover with foil, piercing once or twice so that steam can escape. 
  18. Bake in the preheated oven about 40 minutes. 
  19. Serve at once, with plenty of Moroccan Bread.

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