"I never measure or time anything, so please excuse the vagueness of it, and just keep tasting as you go... I don't make it in a traditional clay pot [see photo]. I actually make mine in a gigantic wok, so I guess it's really just a moroccan-flavored lamb stew. Vive la difference, right?"
1 lb. cubed lamb shoulder
1 carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 zucchini or yellow crookneck squash, diced
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, not drained
Ras el hanout seasoning (I actually use Fresh Direct's moroccan spice rub)
3 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup diced kalamata or oil-cured black olives
1 3/4 cups chicken broth, plus extra
1 cup couscous
Season lamb with salt and pepper, and sauté in a big saucepan (or wok) in a little olive oil until brown. Remove lamb, leaving fat. Add more olive oil if pan is dry.
Sauté carrots, onions, and celery until onions become translucent.
Return lamb to pot. Add squash, chickpeas, apricots, tomatoes (I don't drain them - the acid in the juice tenderizes the lamb), and olives. If there still isn't enough liquid to cover ingredients, add water or chicken stock.
Add Ras el hanout. Start with two tablespoons and add more in pinches until you get the spicing you like. It should be hot and flavorful. Add honey.
Simmer at least 45 minutes, preferably longer, until it reaches that perfect stewy consistency. (I usually keep the pot about half-covered, although I'm not really sure why I started doing this.)
In the meantime, make couscous. It's very easy: bring 1 3/4 cups of chicken broth to a boil in a pot. add 1 cup of couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let steam for at least 10 minutes. Fluff before serving.
Serve tagine over couscous, with a very cold beer or mint iced tea.