I love a good lamb tagine…in fact, it’s probably one of my favourite meals! I’ve already shared my Lamb, Aubergine and Chickpea Tagine – but that was back in October. So I thought it was high time for another! I have recently been inspired to use apricots in my lamb tagines…firstly when I was reviewing Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana and then when I was reviewing my tagine kit from the spicery. I had previously been a bit wary of using apricots in a lamb tagine, but I was pleasantly surprised – they really work. The long slow cooking with the lamb reduces the sweetness of the apricots and that little touch of sweetness works so well with the lamb – yum!
This recipe is very much a cross between Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe and The Spicery’s recipe. I like to think I’ve picked out the best bits of both recipes. As I’ve mentioned before, I much prefer to cook my tagines in the oven – I prefer the texture of the lamb and I feel more able to leave it alone and get on with other things, but you can do this on the hob if you prefer…just make sure you turn your pan down as low as it can go and keep an eye on the tagine to make sure it doesn’t dry out (this won’t happen in the oven – or at least it’s never happened to me!)
I have made this in my new toy…my Waitrose Kitchen Cast Iron Casserole Dish. It’s absolutely perfect for this type of hob to oven cooking. When the tagine is ready to go in the oven, just put the lid on and pop it straight in the oven. Even better, it’s beautiful enough to use to serve from too. But if you haven’t got one, you can either use a saucepan that is ovenproof or transfer the tagine from your saucepan to an ovenproof dish and give it an extra 5 minutes cooking time (to allow the dish to warm up).
This tagine is perfect with plain couscous, jewelled couscous, basmati rice or flatbreads. If you are feeling the need for some veggies, serve this with a simple salad of chopped cucumber, tomatoes and red onion. Dress the salad with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and scatter with pomegranate seeds and a sprinkling of sumac, if you happen to have any. Wine-wise, this would go brilliantly with a red from the Côtes du Roussillon, Rioja or Ribera del Duero.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
- 3cm ginger, grated
- 800g lamb neck fillet, cut into 2cm chunks
- 12 dried apricots
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes, plus half a can of water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Couscous, flatbreads or basmati rice to serve
- Preheat your oven to 140C.
- Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large ovenproof saucepan or cast iron casserole dish. Add the sliced onion and cook on a gentle heat, with the lid on, for about 5 minutes, until the onions are softened but not brown.
- Add the ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, paprika and turmeric. Stir well and cook for 1 more minute with the lid off. Add a splash of water if it gets too dry.
- Add the grated garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for a further minute, before adding in the lamb chunks. Stir well to coat the meat in the onions and spices and then add the salt, apricots and chopped tomatoes, plus about half a can of water (100-200ml).
- Bring the tagine to the boil and then put the lid on and put in your preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Serve with couscous, flatbreads or basmati rice and a simple salad if you fancy it.