Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Out of Africa - Moroccan Tagine
Anyone would think I wanted to be somewhere else. Well, somewhere warm would be a start but seeing as food takes me to place I can't always get to, then it's definitely time for tagine.
So, Morocco. I love its extremes: heat; colour; spice. And I love its heady food. A tagine is something that is so easy to make and its evocative scent envelopes your senses as it cooks. I think some people have an aversion to the whole fruit and meat thing, and whilst I am a fan of this matching, I wasn't sure that Lola and Finn would be, so with this in mind, this slightly tweaked recipe fitted the bill. If you prefer a punchier tagine, then I would suggest being slightly less judicious with the spicing, or adding a little paprika or chilli.
Lola and Finn gave this one the thumbs up.
I hope this recipe transports you to the souk or at least makes you feel like rocking the kasbah.
Serves 8 (or 6 hungry people!)
3 tbsp olive or argan oil
1.5kg lamb. Boneless leg is what I recommend.
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp ground ginger
3 pinches of saffron
2 x 400g can chick peas, rinsed and drained
100ml lamb stock. (I used a cube)
3 x 400 can chopped tomatoes
1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into large chunks
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and brown the lamb in the pan in batches, deglazing the pan with a little water between batches. Add more oil if necessary. Set aside the browned mince and the reserved deglazing liquid to add back to the pan later.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the onion over a medium heat for 5 minutes or so until lightly golden. Then add the chopped garlic and gently fry until fragrant. Then add the spices and stir for 30 seconds.
Return the meat to the pan with deglazing juices. Add the chick peas, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.
Add the squash, then the herbs, reserving a handful for the final garnish. Cook the squash for about 15 minutes then uncover the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Scatter over the remaining herbs and serve, accompanied by couscous.