Tagine

Tagines are not a dish but a family of spicy dishes, referring as they do to the conical Moroccan cooking vessel in which they are typically cooked.  There are a range of typical ingredients but each may be unique – in fact I have a recipe book consisting of nothing but tagines and accompanying dishes.  As is my wont, I may read and absorb recipes but the versions I cook are my own unique variations, and this instance is no difference.

Experimentation tells me that common ingredients in tagines such as olives, prunes and preserved lemons, tend to work best with chicken rather than lamb, but there’s no reason why you can’t experiment further with meats, vegetables and other accompaniments.  This one works though.

Ingredients:

  • Cubed lamb
  • Onion, chopped finely
  • Chick peas (either a tin or dried soaked overnight and boiled for 45 minutes, with cooking liquid)
  • Dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • Ground almonds
  • Toasted almonds (for garnish)
  • Red and green peppers, chopped
  • Chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely
  • Lamb stock (ideally fresh)
  • Passata or tomato paste
  • Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus whole for garnish
  • Ground spices
    • Black pepper, freshly milled
    • Sea salt
    • Smoked paprika
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Cumin
    • Coriander
    • Cinnamon
    • Ginger
    • Grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Couscous to serve (soaked with stock and fluffed up with melted butter, salt and pepper)

Coat the lamb in spices and brown in a pan or casserole.  Add veg and cook for 2-3 mins.  Add garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute.  Add stock, passata, parsley, ground almonds and apricots.  Bring to the boil, then transfer to your tagine.  Cook slowly for 2-3 hours minimum.

Serve with couscous and harissa paste.

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