Thursday, 7 July 2011

Lamb Tagine

Another dish that has become popular following its appearance on certain TV cookery competitions, the Lamb Tagine is a Moroccan based slow cooked stew. But a bit spicy.

I looked at a few recipes, and then experimented. As you can see from the pic, it was a bit "sloppy", but it still tasted great, and the OH recommended mopping this up with toasted pitta bread.

For this dish, I actually used:

A 266g pack of lamb neck fillet - other recipes will say shoulder, but I couldn't get any. Neck's nearly shoulder, anyway....
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Water - to wash out the tin, and the saucepan at the same time. In future, I will skip this.
½ pint of lamb stock - in future I would reduce this to 
50g flaked almonds - I didn't actually use this, as I had run out, so threw in some ground almonds instead.
A few squirts of tomato purée

The spice mix, which will need preparing in advance is:

¼ tsp cayenne pepper - in future, I will leave this out. You can increase if you like it spicy.
1 tsp ground/crushed black pepper
¾ tsp paprika
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp turmeric
2 tsp  ground cinnamon

Chop the lamb into mouth-sized chunks, and marinate, preferably overnight, in half of the spice mix.

Remove from the fridge, where you should store it, about half an hour before you start cooking.

Chop the onion.
Heat the oil over a medium heat, and add the onion and remaining spices.
Soften the onion for 5-10 mins, depending on how thickly or thinly you've chopped the onion.
Added the garlic, either crushed, grated or finely chopped around the middle part of this stage.
 Once the onions have softened, add the marinated lamb, and brown. You might need to turn the heat up but remember, you don't want to burn the onion, garlic or spices, or you'll end up with a bitter flavour, not a sweet, fragrant one.
 Add the tomatoes and stock, and heat until it starts to bubble.
Purists would also add apricots, dates, and sultanas, but we are not fans of fruit in savoury dishes (yes, I know, tomato is a fruit...)
Carefully transfer to a casserole dish, or a tagine dish.
If you're really posh though, you'll have a casserole dish that you can do all of the above in. I am not that posh.
At this stage, I used a tin full of water but will not bother in future.

I covered the dish, and placed in an oven pre-heated to 150°C or Gas Mark 2 for 90 minutes. I found that the liquid hadn't reduced enough, so added the tomato purée and gave it another 20 minutes at 170°C for 20 minutes. The lamb was, however perfectly cooked, and melted in the mouth.

I served this dish with my Moroccan inspired couscous, but you can serve it with rice, flatbreads, chips if you so desire!

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