Moroccan lamb tagine

This is the genuine article, or as near as you are likely to get outside of Morocco, and assumes that you have a proper tagine casserole container. If you want to get really ethnic, you can replace the first quarter cup of olive oil with argan oil, a preparation made from the nuts of a tree native to the region, and add half a teaspoon of ground saffron to the vegetables as you fry them. Serve with rice and a fresh salad on the side.

1/2 tsp white pepper [or to taste].
3 tsp paprika.
1 tsp ground ginger.
2 tsp turmeric.
2 tsp ground cinnamon.
Salt to taste.
¼ cup olive oil.
1kg diced lamb.
¼ cup olive oil.
1 large onion, peeled and grated.
¼ cup sliced almonds.
4 cloves garlic, crushed.
1 cup hot chicken stock.
1 tbsp honey.
½ cup chopped dried apricots.
4 prunes, chopped.
½ cup sultanas.
1 cup dried chick peas.
½ cup tomato paste.
1 400g can diced tomatoes.
¼ cup mixed chopped herbs for garnish.

Mix the spices together and add the oil. Beat well and add to the meat. Toss until well covered, place in a bowl and leave in the refrigerator overnight. Mince the garlic and onion together and add the almonds; set aside. Mix the honey and hot stock together and stir well; set aside. Mix the dried fruits, chick peas, tomato paste and tomato pulp together and set aside.

Very gently heat the tagine over a low flame. In a separate pan, heat ¼ cup oil over a hot flame and cook the grated onion mixture for 2-3 minutes until the almond aroma is released. Turn the mixture into the tagine.
Add the meat to the pan and stir fry until sealed all over. Do this in 2 or 3 batches. Add to the tagine. Deglaze the pan with the stock and add the liquor to the tagine. Add the dried fruit and chick pea mixture to the tagine and gently mix together. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cover with the lid. Cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours.
Remove the lid, sprinkle with the herbs and serve with rice and salad.

Serves: 4.

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