Lamb, Butternut Squash, and Quince Tagine
- 1 quince
- 1/2 tbsp ras el hanout (optional)
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb boneless lamb for stew
- 1/2 large onion, chopped into 1” pieces
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 lbs butternut squash, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into 2” cubes
- 1 cup water or stock
- 2 bay leaves
- Pomegranate seeds for serving (optional)
- Cous cous or basic white rice, for serving (optional)
For the gremolata
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro or Italian parsley leaves
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- Scrub the quince to remove the fuzz. Using a cleaver or chef’s knife, quarter the quince through the stem end. Resting a quarter on one of its flat surfaces and anchoring it on its skin side with one hand, dig out the core, using a paring or oyster knife. The cut surfaces will start to turn brown, but don’t worry. If you’ve been able to remove all the fuzz, leave the quince unpeeled, or peel them if you prefer. Cut the quarters into 2″ thick chunks.
- Stir together the ras el hanout and 1 tsp salt and dredge the lamb pieces in the spice mixture. Heat a wide pot large enough to accommodate all the ingredients over medium high heat and add one tablespoon of the olive oil. Add half the meat and cook, turning once, until fragrant and well-browned, about 3 minutes per side. Lower heat as needed to keep the spices from blackening. Transfer the meat to a plate. Repeat with remaining meat and oil.
- Lower heat to medium low and add the onion and a little salt. Cook onion until softened and translucent, 5-7 minutes, scraping the pot to incorporate any brown bits. Stir in the garlic and cilantro and cook 1 minute more.
- Return the meat and any juices to the pot along with the quince. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low Simmer 20 minutes and check the pot. Thick juices should be forming. Add the squash, water, bay leaves, and a little more salt to the pot and re-cover. Continue to simmer gently until the meat, quince, and squash are very tender, 40-60 minutes longer. (The dish can be prepared up to this point a day ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Lift off the layer of congealed fat before reheating.)
- To make the gremolata: Using a five hole zester, remove the zest from the lemon in long strands. Mince together the lemon zest, cilantro, and garlic.
- To serve: Reheat the stew if necessary. Add a healthy squeeze of lemon juice to the stew and serve over cous cous. Top each serving with gremolata and pomegranate.
- Not Included in Large Kitchen Box: Ras El Hanout, Sea Salt, Olive OIl, Stock, Bay Leaves