The French have taken the aromatic and deeply flavored Moroccan tagine and adapted it to their own taste. Daniel Gouret adds both boneless lamb shoulder and lamb neck to the stew.
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
3 pounds meaty lamb neck and shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
3 large carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
2 cups water
1 cup pitted prunes (6 ounces)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the lamb in 2 batches, season with salt and brown lightly on all sides over moderately high heat, about 12 minutes; transfer to a plate.
2. Add the carrots, onions and garlic to the casserole and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onions are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, cinnamon, cumin and saffron and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
3. Gradually stir in the water, scraping up the browned juices from the bottom of the pan. Add the lamb, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Add the prunes and continue cooking until the meat is very tender, about 20 minutes longer. Tilt the casserole and skim the fat from the sauce. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The tagine can be refrigerated overnight; reheat gently.
SERVE WITH Couscous.