Instant Pot Goat (or Lamb) Tagine

Another quick and tasty pressure cooker meal.

Last spring, I bought a half a lamb and a half a goat from a local organic rancher. The meat came butchered (of course), packaged into a variety of cuts, and frozen solid. Each package of meat was tightly wrapped with plastic and then covered with white butcher paper. Some of it spent a little more than a year in my freezer with no ill effects.

Goat Tagine
Goat tagine, prepared in an Instant Pot.

As I’m working on clearing all the meat out of my big garage freezer for a new batch of meat next spring, I’m searching for recipes that are easy, tasty, and, if possible, Whole30 compliant. I found one called Goat Tagine with almonds and apricots on The Guardian website. I fiddled around with it a bit to Americanize the ingredient list and turn it into a recipe for my Instant Pot pressure cooker. Here’s my version.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds. Not easy to find; ground cumin, which I use a lot, is widely available.
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds. I could not find these locally; all I could find was ground coriander. So I used slightly less than 1 tsp of that.
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 12 black peppercorns. I don’t see why they can’t be rainbow peppercorns if that’s all you have.
  • 2 tbsp olive, rapeseed, or sunflower oil. I used olive oil.
  • 2-1/2 pounds goat or lamb, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces. The original recipe specifies shoulder of kid or goat, but I went into my freezer and pulled all all the remaining goat packages I had: steaks, chops, shanks. Goats are small animals so although that might sound like a lot of meat, I think I came up short on the total amount of meat after I’d cut out the bones and trimmed away what little fat there was. My main goal, however, was to finish up all the goat left in the freezer and I succeeded.
  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped. I used yellow onions.
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced. I suppose you can use the kind in a jar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated.
  • 1 tsp hot, smoked paprika. I didn’t have this so I used 1 tsp of regular (sweet) paprika and about 1/8 tsp chili powder. I also added a drop of liquid smoke, but I think I could have used 2 or more drops because I didn’t taste any smokiness at all.
  • 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes. I used a pint-sized jar of chopped tomatoes in their natural juice. I’d canned them earlier this year. I really love being able to use my own garden vegetables in recipes year-round.
  • 1 cup dried apricots, cut in half. I got Turkish apricots in the natural foods section of my supermarket. They’re available in bulk. They’re not the pretty orange ones that come prepackaged and are available elsewhere in the store. Instead, they were dark colored and didn’t look very appetizing. They tasted great and weren’t nearly as sweet as the orange ones. (That’s all I’m buying from now on.)
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds. I used slivered almonds because I prefer smaller pieces in my food.
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped.

Instructions:

  1. Set up the Instant Pot and make sure the pot is clean and dry. Press Sauté and allow the pot to heat. Then add the cumin, coriander, cloves, and peppercorns. Toast lightly for a few minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  2. Transfer spices to a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder). Pound or grind into a powder and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tbsp oil to the Instant Pot and allow it to heat. Then add the meat and brown it. You might have to do it in two batches with some additional oil; I didn’t. Transfer the meat into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add 1 tbsp oil to the instant pot. Then stir in the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender; about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the ground spices, cinnamon stick, garlic, ginger, paprika, and salt and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices. While cooking, use a heat-resistant rubber spoon or wooden spoon to scrape away at any dark bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The liquid in the tomatoes should make this easy.
  7. When the mixture has come to a boil, stir in the meat and any of its released juices.
  8. If necessary, add hot water to bring the level of liquid up to nearly cover the meat.
  9. Add the apricots and almonds and stir well.
  10. Cover the pot and lock the lid. Turn the steam vent so it’s closed.
  11. On the Instant Pot, press Off, and then Manual. Set the time to 30 minutes.
  12. Allow the stream to release naturally for about 10-15 minutes, then carefully open the pot.
  13. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

A few notes about this recipe:

  • You might need to add more salt. The original recipe was vague on what was needed so I made it without salt. It definitely needed salt so I added about a half teaspoon before locking down the lid. I try to minimize my salt intake for health reasons so you might want more.
  • The original recipe, which was written for the stovetop, instructs you to cook kid for 45 minutes or goat for 60-75 minutes before adding the apricots and almonds and then cook for another 45 minutes. This would obviously cook the apricots less. You could simulate this in the Instant Pot by pressure cooking without the apricots and almonds for 20 minutes, adding them, and then pressure cooking for another 10 minutes. Then you’d have to deal with pressure release to open the pot to add the apricots and almonds. I’m lazy so I didn’t bother. It’s up to you. I don’t think the flavor will change.
  • Reduce the pressure cooking time by 5 minutes if you’re using kid instead of goat.
  • The recipe suggested serving with couscous, rice, or flatbread. But since I’m trying to avoid grains and gluten — yes, I’m still on that Whole30 thing and I’m actually liking it — I cooked up some finely chopped cauliflower and pretended it was rice. I poured some tagine right over that. Excellent.

What do you think?