Moroccan (style!) Lamb Tagine.
A ‘Tagine’ is the heavy pottery cooking pot with a conical lid, from North Africa. I don’t use a tagine when I make tagines, because they seem such a strange shape – so much lid compared to the base of the pot – means that they take up virtually the whole oven, and only contain a relatively small quantity… not any good if you’re trying to bake lots of things at the same time to save on fuel… I use a Le Crouset, but any heavy based pot with a lid would be fine… and I recommend roasting Mediterranean vegetables at the same time as cooking this Tagine – a lovely combination with cous cous & a crisp green salad.
About 550 g or 4 pieces of neck of lamb – cut into large chunks.
I tsp of cumin seeds, I tsp coriander seeds, half a tsp fennel seeds – ground down into powder in a pestle and mortar.
Fresh rosemary, and thyme if you have it, snipped. A bay leaf.
1 Large piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut up small.
4 sweet Potatoes, 2 large sliced onions, 2 cloves of garlic – cut up small
1 tin of tomatoes, I cinnamon stick or a wine mulling spice bag, a generous handful of dried apricots or other dried fruit
Fresh Corriander to snip on the top, and Cous cous or rice to serve.
Pound spices in pestle and mortar then toss lamb cubes in them.
Heat oven to 190c, then heat the olive oil in heavy based pan then brown meat.
Lift meat out and set aside. Brown onion, garlic and sweet potato for a little while.
Add rest of the ingredients and 3 wine glasses of water.
Cook with lid on for about 60 – 90 minutes – remove lid for last part of cooking to let it thicken.
I added some sweet chutney before serving, and garnished with snipped fresh herbs from the garden.
I served it with basmati and black rice, as the friend I was cooking for doesn’t like cous-cous.
… Memories of a wonderful trip to Marrakesh in February – one of the friendliest and most interesting places I’ve been to – so close and easy to get to, yet so different – I was struck by all the beautiful, intricate doors lining narrow earthy streets – see ‘Travel’ category blogs for some of them…
We had great intentions to eat in the central square, which turns from busy thoroughfare to bussing, frantic pop-up restaurant heaven in the evening – but when it came to it, at the end of a long day exploring and bargaining, we always returned to the tranquility of our Riad, and ate some simple, tasty home cooked dish, then stumble up the narrow stony winding staircase to our velvety bed, adorned with cushions and throws in all the reds, golds and burnt ambers you’d want from a trip to Morocco – can’t wait to return, but I think this tagine is as close as I’ll get for a little while!