Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When Life Gives You Sliced Lemons...

About a month ago, mom came home from a church function with a huge container of leftover sliced lemons. She knew that I loved lemons and wondered if I could use them to bake anything. The problem was that they were sliced. Can't really juice them. Can't really zest them. (At least not without cutting up my fingers.) Luckily, like any good Kitchen Window reader, I remembered preserved lemons from NPR. This weekend, the lemons were ready, but I still had to figure out what to do with them.

Preserved lemons are pretty versatile and can simply be added to a number of dishes. However, I wanted to try a recipe that actually called for them. After looking for preserved lemon recipes, I very quickly learned that a Moroccan tagine was the way to go.

Many tagines are either chicken or lamb based. Although I am not vegetarian and not averse to cooking with meat, I don't really enjoy cooking meat, so I wanted something different. However, the vegetarian options I found didn't look quite like what I wanted. So despite having never tried a tagine before, I combined 3 or 4 recipes to come up with a combination that sounded good to me. This is roughly that recipe.

*Note: There may be no salt in the recipe, but it turns out quite salty because of the salt in the lemons.

Red Potato Tagine

1.75 pounds red skin potatoes
1 small onion grated and squeezed dry
1/3 cup grated tomato
1/3 large onion thinly sliced
3/4 red pepper sliced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 gloves garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 preserved lemon (I wasn't sure what that meant. I used about the equivalent of 1/2 a whole lemon)
2 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp cilantro

1. Boil the potatoes for 3 minutes. Then, pour out the water. Thickly slice the potatoes into a bowl of cool water.
2. Saute the grated onion in olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan for 3 minutes.
3. Add tomato and spices, and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add potatoes, onion, and red pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Mix everything together well.
5. Pour in 1 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Then, cover and bring down to a low simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Add parsley, cilantro, and preserved lemon. (To use the preserved lemon: Remove from jar. Rinse with cold water. Coarsely chop. It will be quite soft and salty.) Cover again and simmer for 25 more minutes.
7. You may uncover and boil a bit more to remove some of the excess water.