About a year and a half-ish ago, I stumbled into a parent organization called Choir Boosters. Just about every learning institution in America has one (or several). If there's a sport or activity, there are parents who want to be involved because their kid's in it.
My daughter, who was a freshman at the time, joined her high school's choir. Actually, she was asked to join the elite Chamber Choir, and for the first time in my parenting history, I had a child in an organization with a booster club I wanted to join. My oldest son, who is two years older, participates in minimal activities, and not any with booster clubs, so no chances there. Until now...
A very pleasant side benefit of doing this "stuff for my kids" is that I've grown close with a few of the other women, so much so that when our big fundraiser was done in December, we wanted to keep getting together.
Thus, the Mad Moms (our big fundraiser is called a Madrigal Dinner..."Mad" for short) were born. The inaugural meeting was this last Friday at my house, and I took the main dish, while the other ladies brought salad, dessert, and appetizers. The best thing, for me, is that all three ladies are pretty open to foods, no picky-pickys or anything. And I've had my eyeball on an Ina Garten Moroccan tagine for some time (see it here). I didn't have lamb, but I did have beef, so I used that. The recipe calls for lime wedges, which was a little odd to me, but I did anyway...in the future, I'd leave out. They bring no discernible pizzazz to the dish as far as I can tell.
Always brown the meat before stewing/slow-cooking it. Always. Caramelization is goooooooood. Then, into my Dutch oven with some sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, seasonings, etc...three or so hours later at 300 degrees, I had meat falling off the bone and vegetables that held their color but still melted in the mouth. Tagine is a dish found in many Mediterranean and North African countries, and has as many varieties as there are countries in the region. The primary spices in this one was cardamom, cinnamon, and turmeric, so while it is spicy, it is a warm spicy as opposed to a spicy spicy.
Just after I'd browned the meat ribs and chunks. There was quite a bit of fat in the meat, but I left most of it, and it became all melty and rich with the process. The potato-tomato mixture is underneath and the meat is all nestled in cozily.
Three or so hours later. A delicious savory stew that I served over farro (would have liked Israeli couscous, but alas, my small town grocery doesn't carry it). Still, warming and amazing! Thank you, Ina!
Go Mad Moms!