Lately I have been watching some DVDs I purchased from The Great Courses. If you are not familiar with that company, they offer video recordings, and sometimes accompanying books, prepared from the lectures of outstanding instructors. You can study art appreciation, Egyptian history, architecture, and just about any other topic you can think of. They have a series on cooking as well as on wine appreciation, so I bought both.
One of the instructors in the cooking series is Bill Briwa who is a Chef-Instructor at the Greystone, California campus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Briwa has a very personal and comfortable teaching style, and on top of that he offers a lot of good information and easy-to-follow demonstrations.
The DVD set that I am currently watching is called The Everyday Gourmet: The Joy of Mediterranean Cooking. As the title suggests, there are recipes and demonstrations from Spain, Provence, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and North Africa.
My blogging friend, Happiness Stan Lives, recently received a tagine (His had eyes), and so he demonstrated how to make a Moroccan tagine. I was surprised to learn from Bill Briwa that a “dry” tagine is made in Tunisia without the peaked hat cooking device.
Since I don’t have a Moroccan tagine (That is a hint to my family.) I thought I would give the Tunisian version a try.
Tunisian Tagine Ricotta
- ¾ pound ground lamb
- seeds from 4 cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- ¼ cup olive oil + more to oil the baking dish
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 tablespoons ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup Monterrey jack cheese, grated
- 2 hard boiled eggs, each cut into 6 wedges
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
- In a bowl, mix the ground lamb with the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, and black peppercorns. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the beaten eggs and grated cheese. Set aside until ready for assembly.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the ground lamb mixture, stirring until the lamb is well browned. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
- Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a shallow baking dish with olive oil. Then pour in 1/3 of the egg-cheese mixture, tilting the dish to completely cover the bottom.
- Spread ½ of the lamb mixture over the egg-cheese mixture. Spread ½ of the ricotta over the lamb. Press 6 hard boiled egg wedges into the ricotta, distributing them evenly.
- Cover with 1/3 of the egg-cheese mixture, spreading it as evenly as possible. Top with the remaining lamb and ricotta, pressing the remaining 6 hard-boiled egg wedges into the ricotta between the other wedges.
- Pour the remaining 1/3 of the egg-cheese mixture over the top, spreading it so that it completely covers the other layers.
- Bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 375°F for 40 minutes or until the eggs are completely cooked and the top is beautifully browned.
- Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve while still warm. Serves 4.