In a large bowl, combine the parsley, cilantro, garlic, turmeric, ginger, 1/4 tsp. of the cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. salt, and several grinds of pepper. Add 2 Tbs. water and the olive oil, and mix. One by one, add the lamb steaks to the marinade and turn to coat each one before adding the next. Cover and refrigerate, turning the steaks occasionally, for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes in a sieve. Using a paring knife, make a small incision in each one and gently press out and discard any excess juice and seeds; set the tomatoes aside.
Scatter the chopped onions over the bottom of an 11- to 12-inch tagine. Arrange the lamb in a snug, single layer on top and drizzle over any remaining marinade. Arrange the drained tomatoes around the lamb, and then sprinkle 1 tsp. of the sugar and 1/4 tsp. of the cinnamon over the tomatoes.
Peel and cut the remaining onion crosswise into 1/8-inchthick rounds; do not separate the rings. Carefully lay the onion rounds on top of the lamb, and then sprinkle the remaining 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and a pinch of salt over the onions.
Put the tagine over medium heat and cook uncovered, nudging the lamb occasionally to keep it from sticking, until the chopped onion is translucent, about 15 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup water around the edges (so that you don’t disturb the sugar and cinnamon). Cover with the lid, propping a wooden spoon between the base and the lid to keep it from sealing. Turn the heat down to low and gently simmer, nudging the lamb from time to time to prevent sticking and swapping the spoon position halfway through, until the lamb is very tender and the sliced onions are soft, 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Drizzle in a few spoonfuls of water as necessary during cooking to keep the sauce loose, or remove the lid at the end of cooking to evaporate and thicken the sauce if it’s watery.
Garnish with the sesame seeds and serve.
nutrition information (per serving):
21, Fat Calories
190, Saturated Fat
45, Monounsaturated Fat
21, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips