Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chestnuts and Lamb Tagine / Tagine d'agneau aux châtaignes

Just like a burning fireplace, a snowy rooftop, a chilly morning buried underneath the warm sheets, no winter can be complete without roasted chestnuts or, for the less timid, luscious Chestnuts Tagine.

As I'm writing this, I know a lot of you are driving or flying to spend this time of year with your loved ones. You already have your holiday menu written down. Garland and lights are draped around the room. Fleece pajamas might be your only attire for the next days, and cookies and cakes might be crowding your kitchen.
But as the last burning wood fades away. As the last guest and the last crumb of cookies disappear, make yourself a warm cup of tea, turn on the stove again and try this tagine. It will feel like holidays all over again. Fleece pajama will still be welcome.

I usually use fresh chestnuts for this kind of tagine, but you can go for the canned ones if the idea of peeling all these shiny nuts before cooking them troubles you. The dish is savory, yet sweet at the same time. The lamb melts into the cinnamon and turmeric scented sauce until falling off the bone. The chestnuts, those succulent, fragile chestnuts with their soft interior, add another dimension to the whole tagine, slowly releasing their starch and their unique and sweet nutty flavor. It is a Tagine not to be missed.

Happy holidays, everybody!

Chestnuts and Lamb Tagine (Tagine el lahm bel Kastal)

-1lb(500g) lamb shoulder, cut into 3 inches chunks
- 1 canned chestnuts (300g) drained and rinsed quickly
- 1 handful of raisins
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon butter or s'men
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 2-inches cinnamon stick (5 cm)
- A thin slice of unpeeled lemon
- Walnut halves, for garnish
- Salt
- Freshly ground pepper

In a tagine, or a large skillet, pour the oil along with the butter or s'men. Add the meat and sear on all sides. Add the onion halves, the cinnamon stick and the turmeric. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir. Cover and cook until the onions become to soften a little bit, about 5 minutes.

Cover with 2 cups of water. Put the lid on the vessel and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a low simmer and cook until the meat is very tender, about 1 hour, adding more water if necessary.

Add the chestnuts to the sauce and continue cooking 15 more minutes.

Uncover the pan and let the sauce reduce to a thick consistency. Five minutes before serving, add the raisins, the sugar and lemon slice to the sauce and continue cooking on a low heat.

Discard the onion halves.

Serve the tagine on the table family style, or transfer the meat to a serving dish and spoon the chestnuts, the raisins and the sauce around it. Sprinkle some walnut halves on top and serve at once with plenty of bread.

Tagine d'agneau aux châtaignes (Tagine el lahm bel Kastal)

- 500g épaule d'agneau, coupée en morceaux de 6cm environ
- 1 conserve de châtaignes (300g) débarrassée de leur liquide
- 1 poignée de raisins secs
- 1 c.s d'huile végétale ou autre huile neutre
- 1 c.s de beurre ou s'men
- 1/2 c.c de curcuma
- 1 oignon moyen, épluché et coupé en deux
- 1 c.s de sucre
- 1 bâtonnet de cannelle d'environ 5 cm
- Une fine tranche de citron non-épluchée
- Des cerneaux de noix pour garnir
- Sel
- Poivre noir fraichement moulu

Dans un tagine, ou une poêle a fond épais, verser l'huile et le beurre ou le s'men. Faite chauffer sur feu doux, puis ajouter la viande et faites saisir sur tous les cotés jusqu'à obtention d'une belle couleur caramélisée. Ajouter les moitiés d'oignons, la cannelle et le curcuma. Assaisonner légèrement de sel et poivre et remuer. Couvrir et laisser cuire jusqu'à ce que les oignons fondent un peu, environ 5 minutes.

Ajouter 500 ml d'eau. Couvrir et porter à ébullition. Réduire le feu et laisser cuire doucement jusqu'à ce que la viande soit très tendre, environ 1 heure, en rajoutant de l'eau si nécessaire.

Ajouter les châtaignes à la sauce et laisser cuire encore 15 minutes de plus.

Découvrir votre tagine ou poêle et réduire la sauce en une consistance épaisse. Cinq minutes avant de servir, ajouter les raisins secs, le sucre et la tranche de citron à la sauce et cuire toujours sur feu doux.

Débarrassez-vous des moitiés d'oignons.


We Are Not Martha said...

Mmm I've never cooked with chestnuts before but this seems like an awesome combination. Will have to save it for next year!


Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Great Blog. Beautiful writing. You paint great pictures with your words! Hope to try this recipe soon!

Tracy Mapples said...

Wuhhhhhu... It was an awesome dish...I really liked it .... but the taste of canola oil was little contradictory... Instead of that Patan ghee would be the best option...Thanks again for such a wonderful dish...

Warda said...

- Sues, happy holidays!

- SSSweets, thanks for stopping by.

- Tracy, I don't taste of canola oil when I cook with it. The addition in this dish is mainely to prevent the s'men or ghee from burning. But I'm glad you liked the tagine!

Terry said...

Sounds like a delicious recipe, Warda. Seasons greetings to you, too.

Kasha said...

Happy New Years to you! Thanks for being my friend!

Alex said...

This looks delicious. I keep my eye out for good chestnut recipes...a must try.

Christine Rochet-Jacob. said...

Oulala! Cela fait un an que mon mari et moi voulons acheter un tajine, nous avons un peu de mal à trouver celui de nos rêves ici à Toronto (simple et peu orné). Mais je suis remotivée, et nous allons repartir à la chasse au tajine ce week-end.Nous ne reviendrons pas bredouille. Promis!
Vive le tajine agneau+châtaignes (mon fruit préféré en hiver).
Merci encore pour la recette ;)

Kathleen said...

Love your blog. This recipe sounds wonderful. Hope to make it soon!

cookeaze said...

A delightful flavor combo! I love chestnuts!

Ellja said...

a very nice blog, with fantastic recipes :-)I´ll be back soon.

cookeaze said...

Wonderful blog and great writing!On the menu for this week! Yum!

Cherine said...

This tagine looks delicious!

Elana said...

I have the most amazing tajine. I love making vegetable and meat dishes or cooking fruit in it. To think, a couple of weeks ago I didn't even know what one was. Now, I can't see how i survived without it.

percale sheets said...

love your blog and recipes. it looks really delicous especially Roasted Spiced Potatoes :)
Thank you