A Taste of Morocco: Paula Wolfert’s Lamb Tagine with Tomatoes and Eggplant

Usually, I post original recipes. But, hey, it’s March breACK!, and I’m crazy busy posting all of the original stuff I pull off with the kids. Still, I wanted to make some special dinners that sustained our Mediterranean theme. Our focus has been on the Eastern Mediterranean, but tonight I took a shift to the west. I finally cracked open my copy of Paula Wolfert’s The Food of Morocco and got to work on her Lamb Tagine with Tomatoes and Eggplant. I don’t have an actual tagine, but the dutch oven worked just fine. This is a dish of low and slow cooked lamb with onions, saffron, ginger, pepper, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and turmeric, topped with a lovely mash of eggplant and tomato with paprika, cumin, garlic, lemon, parsley and cilantro. Did I miss something? Probably….

Here’s just a small sample of the results:
A Taste of Morocco - Making Paula Wolfert's Lamb Tagine with Tomatoes and Eggplant

Execution: While the recipe was rather elaborate, I found it quite easy to follow and to execute. I hadn’t read the recipe through until a few hours before dinner (probably not a good idea!), but I was still able to get everything done without losing my mind. I even lead a few pretty intense piano practice sessions with the kids while the lamb was “untangling”  I’m glad it took a bit of extra doing, because Blaise and I ended up sneaking in a nice dinner together after the kids had finished their lunch-leftovers-for-dinner and went upstairs to play.
The flavours: The flavours of this dish were excellent. A nice mix of tang, smoke, sweetness and, well….lamb! I had given up meat for Lent, with the one caveat that I could make this dish during March breACK!, and I was not disappointed in my “once” in forty days cheat!  My one quibble would be with the oil in the eggplant portion of the dish.  To make the eggplant and tomato topping for the lamb, one fries the eggplant slices in oil (draining them and patting them liberally with towels, of course) before mashing. Despite extensive draining, patting, pressing etc, before I mashed it up, I still found the eggplant half of the dish quite oily.  I wonder if steaming the eggplant, as opposed to frying it, before mashing it up with garlic, spices, and eventually tomato, would make the dish a bit lighter?
I will definitely try this recipe again!

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