Nell’s Tagine of Moroccan Lamb with Apricots

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Time for another guest spot, and so the return of Nell!

Since her last guest spot, Nell’s been back in the kitchen trying out many of the TidyMunch recipes. When her birthday (I won’t say which one) came around in August, it felt fitting that I engineer another TidyMunch guest spot empower Nell to further her culinary crusade.

I bought her a tagine, some spices, and a cookbook. Living up to her title as The Original Modifier, she soon tweaked some of the recipes to come up with her own. So, over to Nell!


Ingredients

800g Lean leg of lamb trimmed and cut into bite sized chunks

1 rounded tablespoon of Ras El Hanout Moroccan spice mix (Available from most good supermarkets or make your own from the recipe below)

2 tablespoons of good quality cooking oil ( I used olive oil )

I large yellow onion , halved and sliced

2 cloves garlic minced or chopped finely

1” root ginger finely grated

1 tablespoon sun dried tomato paste

2 waxy potatoes peeled and diced into I” chunks

I substituted 300g  baby new potatoes or you could use large can of chickpeas

I large carrot peeled , halved across the width and cut into thick strips

15-20 dried apricots

500ml Chicken, Lamb or beef stock

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, mint or parsley

 

Serves 4 with sides of rice or couscous, or a hearty meal for 2-3 with flatbread, naan or chapatti


Method

1. Place the Ras el hanout and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large polythene bag, add the diced lamb and shake to coat thoroughly. Seal tightly ( a zip lock bag is ideal ) and leave to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 2hours

2. Set your oven to Gas 2 150° (140° FAN). Place a tagine pot or casserole dish in the centre of the oven to warm.

3. On the hob, heat the remaining oil in a deep skillet or frying pan until hot but not smoking.

4. Ensuring the base of pan is lightly coated, add the marinated lamb, sealing on all sides over a high heat until lightly browned.

5. Turn down the heat and add the sliced onion, cooking gently for 3-4 mins until just soft.

6. Add the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, chopped fresh herbs and around 50ml of the stock. Stir to combine all of the ingredients, and coat the lamb thoroughly. Add 250ml of the stock, and bring to a simmer. (Set the remainder of the stock to one side adding if/when required )

7. Increase the oven temperature to Gas 4, 180° (170° FAN) and carefully remove the tagine dish.

8. Tip the lamb mix into the base of the warmed tagine. Replace the lid and return to the oven for 45mins until the lamb is tender but still firm.

9. Add the potatoes & carrot, stirring into the lamb mix , adding a liitle more stock if required. This will vary depending on the type of cooking dish used; a chimneyed tagine will keep hot air & steam circulating so less liquid is required.

10. Return to the oven with the lid on for 1- 1 ¼ hrs or until the potatoes are beginning to soften.

11. Add the apricots and chickpeas if using, add more stock or water if necessary, but avoid over-thinning. Cook for a further 30 mins removing the lid for the final 15, until the fruit is plump and juicy, the vegetables are cooked to your liking, and the lamb is meltingly tender.

12. Reduce the gravy by heating rapidly on the hob if necessary; you may need one of these. Alternatively, mix 1 tablespoon of cornflour with a little water and stir through thoroughly. I prefer the reduction method as it concentrates the flavours.

13. Garnish with a swirl of yogurt and a sprinkling of chopped mint, coriander or parsley.

Tidy!


Tidy Savings

Tesco win this week, fair and square with an offering of £16.46. Sainsbury’s manage second place, by virtue of a double disqualification(!) with their £18.21.

Neither Morrisons or ASDA had Ras-El-Hanout on their website. Assuming that had it been available they would’ve charged the same as Tesco (more expensive than Sainsbury’s) then they would have come in at £16.73 and £17.09.

Sainsbury’s more than deserve their second place on grounds of availability, while Morrisons were nothing short of pathetic, failing to offer options to order Ras-El-Hanout, fresh ginger, or single loose carrots on their website.


Tidy Tweaks

So, this is already a tweak in that it’s Nell’s amalgamation and modification of several other recipes. Additional tweaks could be to substitute the meat (or take it out altogether – I have an amazing Fat Club Sweet Potato recipe). Perhaps the most adventurous tweak of all, though, would be to try your own Ras El Hanout, as Nell suggested. So, back to Nell for a Brucey Bonus:

Ras El Hanout’s literal translation from Arabic is “head of the shop,” implying that it’s “the best (or top) of the shop.” While some Moroccans might use it in daily cooking, the majority reserve it for specialty dishes.

There are literally dozens of versions of this classic Morrocan spice mix.

Some use up to 100 ingredients! Tweak till your heart’s content and have fun ringing the changes until you find what best suits yours or the family’s taste buds. I’m not a great lover of cardamom so cut it by half, and added ½ a teaspoon of fennel.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

2 teaspoons ground mace

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

PREPARATION

Blend all of the spices in a bowl. Transfer to a glass jar, and store in a dry, dark place. I converted teaspoons to tablespoons to make a store cupboard standby. Shake well before use.

You can of course pick up some excellent supermarket blends if you simply CBA or like I did first time round, use the excellent version that was gifted to me.


Acknowledgements

Fair play to Nell for another cracking recipe! Just what’s needed as we head into Autumn, a nice hearty warmer!

 

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