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Oct 24, 2012 06:10 PM

Lamb tagine question

For some reason I have my head set on making a lamb tagine with preserved lemon and olives for a dinner party this coming weekend. All the recipes I've seen - except for one - call for lamb shoulder as the meat. I can understand why. But the problem is that I've not been able to find good lamb shoulder around here. I have no trouble finding all kinds of leg but no shoulder (except for some rather sad looking chops - outrageously expensive and pitiful). Do you think I could use leg instead of shoulder? It would actually end up being cheaper, believe it or not - but I'd gladly pay for the right meat if it were easy to find.

I can change the menu - can make chicken with lemon and olives instead if I must.

Edited to add - I can also find lamb shanks easily if that would be a better choice.

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  1. I am a complete idiot. It's like I'm living Groundhog Day for my entire life. This isn't the first time it's happened either:

    Almost exact same question (ish) by me from 4 years ago:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nyleve

      That might be... but in this case, I would substitute a leg of lamb NOT the shanks. Though braised shanks would be a great alternative. Do you have any halal markets? If so, you might investigate if they get fresh cut lamb and goat.

    2. The chicken with preserved lemons and olives cooked in a targine is so very, very good, that I'd go that way. If you're in North America, not everyone likes lamb (mostly from not having eaten much lamb), but chicken with lemons will be tender (and depending on the lamb cut, some can be really tough ifthe cooking time's not right).

      1. Aw the heck with tagine. I'm doing lamb shanks with garlic and rosemary or something!

        But thanks for replies.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Nyleve

          We will be here in 4 years when you need to ask this question again! :-)

        2. Indian markets sell frozen lamb cut into cubes on a bandsaw. Judging from the bone fragments I guess they often use the shoulder. But I have also successfully braised boneless leg.

          4 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            If I were prepared to drive an hour to Toronto, I would have no problem whatsoever getting shoulder. But for some stupid reason, right at this moment, none of our local supermarkets - including the large chains - have a lamb shoulder of any sort. They do sell frozen "lamb stew" meat, which are 1-inch chunks of what looks to me as mostly fat. I just can't bring myself to buy it for a dinner party. And it's not cheap either. So I got the shanks and will do a slow roast with whole garlic and stuff. But thanks for telling me that you can braise lamb leg. I wasn't sure - definitely do not want to ruin a nice leg of lamb. Maybe another time.

              1. re: Nyleve

                Maybe it's moot by now, but I'd opt for making the tagine with the lamb shanks. I've actually had lamb-shank tagines in restaurants, and they've been wonderful.

                1. re: Miss Priss

                  Moot. Did them today. Will skim fat and reheat to serve tomorrow. But actually, that's not a bad suggestion - I'll try to remember this in 4 years when I ask the same question again...