12 out of 10 Moroccan Lamb Tagine with chickpeas

February 2, 2011

Meltingly tender lamb with a sweet, sour and spicy sauce. Another freezer friendly meal for my friend which was rated a 12 out of 10 by her a couple of days ago! This is a dish inspired by Gordon Ramsay. I have found a whole new level of respect for him since I made this and his Malaysian Chicken curry. There was some “artistic license” with this recipe mind you, however the general gist is from Mr Ramsay’s recipe on the Channel 4 website. Lamb is a bit of an acquired taste so you could substitute it with beef (or chicken I suppose).

Ingredients (serves 4- 6)

900g boned lamb shoulder (or beef)
2 tbsp plain flour
Sea salt and black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion or 2 medium onions
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1½ tbsp ras el hanout
1½ tbsp tomato purée
Approx 800ml chicken stock
100g dried apricots
1½ “quick” preserved lemon (you will need 3 tbsp of salt and 1 1/2 lemons)
lemon juice
2 tbsp runny honey
2 tins of chickpeas
4 carrots

Method

Quick Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are really easy to make but they take a few weeks to mature so when I decided to make this dish I thought I would just buy some. Emmmm….easier said than done! Obviously Scotland doesn’t have a massive preserved lemon demand – I couldn’t find them anywhere. The only thing to do was to “google” it. And voila a quick preserved lemon recipe. Really quick and really easy so if you are ever cut short without a preserved lemon around you can survive! Phew.

I made just enough for this dish but I suppose you could do as many or as few as you wanted.

Ingredients
1 cup water
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 lemons, washed and quartered

Combine water and salt in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Add lemons; cook 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup and lemon rind is tender. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Yep it’s that easy!!

Now that we have that out the way we can get stuck in with the Tagine.

Cut lamb into bite size pieces and dust in seasoned flour.

Take a large heavy based pan (Le Creuset is a winner for this) and add the olive oil. Brown the lamb in batches and leave to the side.

In the same pan saute the onion (finely sliced) for about 5 mins until soft (do not brown) you may need to add a little more oil. Add in crushed garlic, peeled and grated ginger, ras-el-hanout and tomato puree and fry until fragrant (about a minute or two). Add browned lamb and any juices, the stock (enough to cover) and bring to the boil.

As soon as it is boiling reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered with a lid for 1 1/2 hours skimming fat that rises to the surface.

Add in peeled and sliced carrot (I would cut on an angle and about 3 – 4 ml thick), drained and rinsed chickpeas, halved apricots, runny honey, finely chopped preserved lemons with pulp removed and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Simmer for a further 35 – 40 mins until lamb is tender.

Tagine with apricots and preserved lemons added

Taste and adjust seasoning – you may want to add more honey or lemon too.

Again you really could put any veg in this, would be nice with butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas etc. You could also use dates too instead of apricots but be careful not to use too many as they are really sweet. Serve with couscous or rice and I would probably serve it alongside some super fresh crunchy salad like fatoush – lots of mint and lemon.

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