One of my all time favourite comfort foods is lamb tagine. I love the rich flavour of the lamb cooked low and slow with these sweet and savoury flavours. This dish is all in the preparation, lots of ingredients, but once ready, it’s a cinch to make, enjoy!
For this meal, we were taking the food to a friend’s house to eat, so we wanted to keep the preparation simple. We started about 2 hours early to get everything portioned out, as well as to giving the lamb a good amount of time to marinate. The dish itself requires around 2 hours to cook, so make sure you leave a good amount of time. Couscous recipe courtesy of Michael Smith. Perfect recipe!
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1½ tbsp paprika
- 1½ tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 x shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into 5cm chunks (about 1.1kg/2½lb meat in total)
- 2 large onions, grated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp argan oil (didn’t have these)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 570ml tomato juice
- 2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 115g dried apricots, cut in half
- 55g dates, cut in half
- 55g sultanas or raisins
- 85g flaked almonds
- 1 tsp saffron stamens, soaked in cold water (shop around for these as they can be quite expensive in some places)
- 600ml lamb stock (I used beef stock, make or buy lamb if available)
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
FOR THE COUSCOUS
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- few cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- 1 cup couscous
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- a handful chopped cilantro
Place the cayenne, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine.
Place the lamb in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of argan oil in a large casserole dish.
Add the grated onion and the remaining spice mix and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes so that the onions are soft but not coloured. Add the crushed garlic for the final 3 minutes.
In a separate frying pan, heat the remaining oil and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides then add the browned meat to the casserole dish.
De-glaze the frying pan with ¼ pint of tomato juice and add these juices to the pan.
Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, saffron, lamb stock and honey to the casserole dish.
Bring to the boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
Place the lamb in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over the chopped herbs. Serve.
Splash the olive oil into a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and spices.
Sauté for a few minutes until everything is heated through and your kitchen smells fragrant.
Add the chickpeas, couscous, raisins, apricots, orange juice, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper.
Bring everything to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low, just enough to maintain the simmer.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and continue cooking until the couscous is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the couscous rest for another 5 minutes or so before serving.
Using a fork to help fluff up the couscous, transfer it into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the almonds and cilantro.