Recipe Review: This didn't quite turn out as my taste buds imagined it would. It was tasty but I didn't achieve Tagine perfection, D'oh! I will experiment again next time I make it to greater success!
Cooking time: 1 to 2 hours plus marinating time Serves: 4 - 6
Preheat oven: 160°C / 325°F
For the Marinade
- ½ cup cilantro (coriander) leaves, plus 2 tbsp roughly chopped for serving
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2" 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" cubes
For the Tagine
- Pinch of saffron
- 2 cups Chicken Stock (see page 272 of her book for recipe)
- 2 brown onions, roughly chopped
- 3 fat cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 120 mL olive oil
- 5 tsp Ras El Hanout spice mix
- 400g (14oz) can chickpeas or butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 800 mL vegetable or chicken stock
- 500g (1.2 pounds) pumpkin (butternut, acorn, kabocha)
- 3 small to medium courgette (zucchini)
- 150g dried prunes or apricots (or a combination of both)
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 small preserved lemon, finely chopped or sliced for serving
- 400g couscous
- 1 tbsp butter
- Salt and Pepper
For the Chermoula
- 1 large bunch cilantro (coriander)
- 1 fat garlic clove
- 1 fat red chilli
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 lemon
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. Use this time to prepare the pumpkin and courgette. De-Stem, de-seed, and cut the pumpkin into 2" pieces. You may like to peel some of the skin from the courgettes to make stripes (for decoration, optional), then thickly slice.
8. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoon of the olive oil, then add the onions and garlic and fry over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, until soft.
9. Stir in the Ras el Hanout and cook for a further 2 minutes until the spices smell fragrant.
What is Ras El Hanout? A Classic Moroccan spice mixture, Ras el Hanout contains many aromatic spices including cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, pepper, ginger, and even dried rose petals. If you can't find it, use a combination of these spiced instead.
10. Add the tomatoes, add the tomato puree, the add 500ml stock. Cover, bring to the boil, then add the courgettes, pumpkin and dried fruit to the pot. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender and the tagine has reduced slightly. Stir in the honey.
11. Remove the Lamb Tagine from the oven. Take the lid off the pot and set aside the parchment. Add the vegetables into the lamb tagine to combine, stir through the chickpeas or butterbeans, 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.
12. Whilst you wait, make the chermoula dressing and prepare the couscous. Roughly chop the coriander leaves and put them into a bowl. Finely chop the chilli and crush the remaining garlic, then add to the bowl with the rest of the olive oil, and most of the sesame seeds. Grate in the lemon zest and squeeze in half of the juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: You can also do this in a food processor. Leave out the olive oil until all other ingredients are finely chopped, move to a bowl and then stir through the olive oil to a nice consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
13. For the couscous, mix the couscous and the rest of the lemon juice in a large bowl. Dot the butter over the top in small pieces. Bring the remaining stock to the boil, then pour it over the couscous. Cover tightly with clingfilm or a well-fitting plate, then set aside for 10 minutes.
14. Season the tagine to taste with salt and serve immediately with couscous, scattered with the preserved lemon and the chermoula.
I did this with just apricots. I would like to try it with a mix of both prunes and apricots.
I'd also like the tagine to be a bit drier like the original Lamb Tagine was. But that's a personal thing - you may like the saucier types of Tagines.