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Lamb and Butternut Squash Tagine with Apricots

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Description

Savory lamb, salty olives, and the warm spices in ras el hanout are balanced by sweet butternut squash, apricots, and a touch of honey for this tagine.

Ingreadient

    • 2 pounds well-trimmed boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces (from about 3 1/2 pounds untrimmed meat)
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ras el hanout, divided
    • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
    • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved, divided
    • 2 1/2 cups cubed (about 3/4-inch pieces) peeled butternut squash
    • 1 tablespoon wildflower honey or orange blossom honey
    • 1/2 cup dried apricots
    • 1/3 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, torn
    • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2 tablespoons small mint leaves
    • Cooked couscous, for serving

Direction

  1. Toss lamb with 1 1/2 tablespoons ras el hanout and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl until evenly coated. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, or cover and chill up to 2 days.
  2. Grate 1 onion half on largest holes of a box grater; set aside remaining half. Place grated onion in a clean dish towel or piece of cheesecloth, and squeeze over sink to remove as much liquid as possible. Stir together lamb and grated onion in base of a 2-quart tagine. Cover and cook on a gas stovetop or a diffuser over an electric range over very low until lamb is cooked through but not yet tender and juices are pooling in tagine, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  3. Thinly slice remaining onion half. Add sliced onion to tagine; stir to combine. Cover and continue cooking on stovetop until lamb is tender, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 300°F with oven rack in upper third of oven. Toss together butternut squash, honey, remaining 2 teaspoons ras el hanout, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add butternut squash mixture and apricots to tagine; stir to combine, making sure apricots are submerged in pan juices. Transfer tagine, uncovered, to upper third of preheated oven. Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Bake until squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove tagine from oven, and sprinkle with olives, pine nuts, and cilantro. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with mint leaves, and serve with couscous.

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