Recipe Review: This recipe takes a little while but it's well worth it. Comforting, tasty and makes enough for leftovers for a couple of days. You know what they say... casseroles always taste better the next day! We served this with cous cous but you can use millet as a gluten free option.
Cooking time: 8 – 10 hours (including marinating time) Serves: 4 - 6
Preheat oven: 160°c / 325°f
- ½ cup cilantro (coriander) leaves, plus 2 tbsp roughly chopped for serving
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
- 900g - 1kg (2 pounds) boneless lamb top round, cut into 2-inc cubes
- Pinch of saffron
- 2 cups Chicken Stock (see page 272 of her book for recipe)
- 400g (14oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 700g (1.5 pounds) pumpkin (butternut, acorn, kabocha), stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 small preserved lemon, finely chopped or sliced for serving
1. Combine the ½ cup of cilantro leaves with the garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, pepper, and olive oil in a powerful blender or food processor along with a large pinch of salt. Blend everything together until completely pureed.
2. Place the lamb in a large bowl (that will fit in the fridge) and pour the marinade over it. Using your hand, make sure every bit of meat is completely covered with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or as long as overnight.
3. Take the lamb out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for at least ½ hour. Preheat oven while you wait for the lamb (160°c/325°f)
4. Place the lamb, along with all of the marinade, into a large, stove top and oven proof, heavy pot (we use a Le Creuset Dutch Oven for this) set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring now and then, until evenly browned all over, a solid 15 minutes (do this in batches if the lamb doesn't fit into your pot in a single layer).
5. Once the lamb is just browned, sprinkle it with the saffron, stir to combine, and add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and use a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to scrape up any bits that might have stuck to the bottom. Turn the heat off.
6. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit nicely inside the pot, scrunch it up into a ball, and wet it. Smooth out the damp parchment and lay it over the lamb like a blanket (this will keep in the moisture). Put the lid on the pot and tuck it into the oven for 1 ½ hours.
7. Take the lid off the pot and set aside the parchment. Stir the chickpeas and pumpkin into the pot, put the parchment back and the lid on, and return the pot to the oven for a final ½ hour. The lamb should be meltingly tender and the pumpkin should be cooked through but not disintegrated.
8. Season the tagine to taste with salt and serve immediately, scattered with the preserved lemon and the chopped cilantro.
Sometimes the pumpkin sitting on the top is still a bit hard. You may need to check it at the ½ hour, stir through and pop back into the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.