I’ve made this a few times lately and I’m totally in love with it. This tagine is one of those lovely ‘slow dishes’ that’s perfect for a chilly night. It bubbles away in the kitchen all afternoon so that when it gets to dinner time, all that needs to be done is to make the couscous, which is about one of the easiest things to do in the kitchen. I’ve adapted this from the recipe for Beef Tagine in Jamie Does.
If you like the salty kick of preserved lemon, then chop some up and add it in at the end.
I usually make a double quantity and freeze half of it. Perfect for one of those ‘can’t be bothered’ days.
Lamb and Apricot Tagine
serves 4 – 6
600g lamb shoulder, diced into 3cm cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
small bunch of fresh coriander
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
800ml stock (vegetable, chicken or even water)
400g tin chickpeas, drained
2 medium orange sweet potatoes, about 800g
100g dried apricots
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground sweet paprika
1 tbsp ras el hanout*
pinch of salt and pepper
Mix all the spice rub ingredients together and rub all over the diced lamb in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate, leaving for at least a few hours to let the flavour infuse. Do this the day before if you can.
When ready to cook, clean the coriander and finely chop the roots and stems. Also, peel and dice sweet potato into 3cm cubes
To cook the tagine, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a tagine or large casserole dish. I use a 5L cast iron casserole. Pour the meat and spices into the pan and fry for 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Add the onion and coriander roots and stems and fry for another 5 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes and the stock. If you don’t have any stock, simply fill the tomato can with water twice. It will clean out the tin and give you a bit of flavour in the water. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer. Leave to cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Now add the chickpeas, sweet potato and dried apricots. Give it a stir, then put the lid back on and leave for another 1 1/2 hours. Check it every now and then and add a splash of water if it’s getting dry.
After the 1 1/2 hours, take off the lid and check the consistency. If it’s too watery, simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes with the lid off or until it’s the thickness your like. Taste and season if needed.
When ready to serve, chop the coriander leaves, and sprinkle over. Serve with couscous.
*You can make your own ras el hanout or buy it from Middle Eastern food stores and delis with a good spice selection.