Waiting for the Lamb Tagine

We still have plenty of lamb left from when T bought a whole lamb from one of his farmer's market buddies, and when the Wall Street Journal printed this recipe for a lamb tagine it was enough to spur me to action.

I didn't have 6 pounds of lamb shanks, but we did find 2 lbs of shanks and a pound of neck, so I went with that and halved the recipe.

I thought it was interesting that the recipe didn't call for browning the meat before braising it, but instead browned it after braising by uncovering the pot and roasting it in a hotter oven for the last 15 minutes. I might be able to tell the difference if I tasted meats cooked with the two different techniques side-by-side, but I tried some of the meat once it was done today, and it was delicious and so I didn't miss the initial pan-browning. The little roast at the end is more convenient, I think. But some recipes use the fat that comes off the meat during browning to sautee the other ingredients, so it must be done up front. This recipe called for the onions to be sauteed in butter, so that made the roasting vs browning possible, I suppose.

The recipe calls for eating the dish on day 2 rather than the day of cooking. This will give the dish more time for the flavors to marry, and also allows the cook to peel off any congealed fat that rises to the top. But I don't think I'll have any to peel off, even after the stew rests in the refrigerator overnight. This was a primarily grass-fed local sheep, and I've found it to be leaner than the mass-produced sheep from Australia available in the grocery stores. T wanted to eat the stew tonight, but I figure I'd follow the recipe and wait a day in order to get a true decision about the quality of the recipe. I did cut one corner, though, by not using any saffron, since I didn't have any in the pantry at this time.

We'll have the stew tomorrow for lunch, so I'll have to report back on the results of this recipe. But I'm pretty hopeful, since it smelled wonderful while it was cooking this afternoon.