- 6 - 8 People
The word tagine refers both to the North African recipe and the conical-lidded pot in which it is cooked. In a traditional tagine, the meat, or slower cooking vegetables, cook over the direct heat and the circulating hot air cooks the softer vegetables which are piled on the top allowing for all the ingredients to be ready at the same time. I am not presuming that you have such a piece of equipment to hand.
Moroccan tagines are not generally heavily spiced or particularly hot. They commonly include fruit, both fresh and dried, and this adds a natural sweetness which I love. In this instance, it is the raisins which add a fruity sweetness and take on the flavours from the meat and the sauce.
1.3-1.6kg lamb shoulder, cut into 3 cm chunks
30g unsalted butter, melted
2 tabsps light olive oil
300g chopped Spanish onions
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tabsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 whole tinned tomatoes
350ml chicken, lamb, veal stock or vegetable stock
1 tabsp honey, or more to taste
70g whole blanched almonds
2 tsps sunflower oil
Oven temp: 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4
Heat the butter and the olive oil in a casserole pot and add the chopped onions. Season with salt, cover the pot with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes over a medium heat. Remove the lid and add the chopped garlic, the turmeric and the ginger. Continue cooking for another few minutes and add the meat. Season the lamb and toss over a high heat until the lamb changes colour. Add the chopped tomatoes and the stock, adding a little extra, if necessary, just to cover the meat. Bring up to the boil, place a lid on the pot and then transfer to a preheated oven. Cook the lamb for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and add the raisins. If the meat is looking a little dry, add in some extra stock. Return the pot to the oven and continue cooking for a further 30-45 minutes or until the lamb is meltingly tender.
Add the honey and mix into the sauce. Taste and add more seasoning if required and a drizzle more honey if you would like some extra sweetness. The tagine may be cooked in advance and served the next day but the almonds should only be added just before serving otherwise they lose their crunch.
To toast the almonds
Heat a frying pan. Add the sunflower oil, followed by the almonds. Toss for a few minutes until the almonds become very lightly toasted.
Note: you may cook the tagine on the hob rather than in the oven. Be sure that that it is only at a gentle simmer and give it a stir every so often to make sure that it is not sticking at the bottom. Not all hobs go as low as simmering point. A heat diffuser, which can be purchased in a kitchen shop, is a great gadget if you wish to cook something more gently.