2 1/2 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder arm chops, thick
3 tablespoons golden raisins
3 large red onions, 1 grated, and 2 thinly sliced, divided
2 teaspoons Moroccan spice mixture (recipe follows)
1/4 teaspoon ground cubeb berries or cayenne
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
1 (3-inch) Ceylon cinnamon stick, lightly crushed (often sold as Mexican cinnamon)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons mild olive oil, divided
6 plum tomatoes, preferably Roma, peeled, quartered lengthwise and seeded
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 flour tortillas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Trim any excess fat from the lamb. Cut chops into 1 1/2-inch chunks with bones.
Soak the raisins in warm water for 15 minutes to rehydrate.
Meanwhile, place lamb, the grated onion, Moroccan spice mixture, cubeb berries or cayenne, saffron, cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon salt, butter and half the oil in tagine. Place on a heat diffuser if possible, uncovered, over low heat until aroma of spices is released, about 10 minutes. Do not brown meat. Add 1/2 cup hot water and gently increase heat to slowly bring to a boil.
Drain raisins. Cover meat mixture with the onion slices and raisins and spread the tomatoes, cut side down, on top. Cover tagine, reduce heat to low and cook until lamb is tender, about 2 hours.
When lamb is almost ready, set an oven rack on oven's middle shelf. Heat oven to 350 F.
Remove tagine's top and tilt pot to pour all liquid into a medium conventional skillet. Skim fat from top of liquid; then boil it down to 3/4 cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread reduced juices over tomatoes in tagine. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Scatter sugar and ground cinnamon on top. Place in oven and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Switch oven heat to broil, dribble over remaining oil, and cook until crusty and lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Serve at once or reheat gently over medium heat.
Just before serving, warm the tortillas, tear them into large pieces, and spread pieces of two tortillas over a large serving platter. Spoon about half of tagine's contents on top. Repeat with another two tortillas and remaining contents of tagine. Top with remaining tortilla pieces and a sprinkling of the parsley. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
MOROCCAN SPICE MIXTURE (LA KAMA): Combine 1 tablespoon each ground ginger, turmeric and black pepper; 2 teaspoons each ground cubeb berries and Ceylon or Mexican cinnamon; and 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Shake well to mix thoroughly. Store, tightly covered, for up to 6 months.
— Recipe adapted by the Los Angeles Times from "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking" by Paula Wolfert.