The original recipe for this tasty Lamb dish came from our long-time neighbour Theresa. It was served at one of her merry gatherings several years ago, and has been a favourite ever since. A rather neglected favourite in recent times I fear, through no fault of it’s own, so with a pack of lamb pieces needing to be used, and not really fancying Irish Stew today, I decided to revive this great little dish. It’s cooking away gently in the oven as I write, so it will be a race to see which gets finished first! The quantities I’m using today would feed 4 hungry people, and of course it is a perfect recipe for doubling up for parties.
Most people know that a Tagine is just a description of the shape of dish that this was first cooked it, but I’m just using my trusty old cast-iron casserole today, and unless you have masses of cupboard space to hold a pot that you’ll use one in a blue moon, I suggest you do as I do!
- A large casserole suitable for use on the hob and in the oven, or a deep frying pan and a casserole dish.
- 450g lamb pieces – because I’m bone idle I used leg of lamb pieces today. #thankyoumrsainsbury
- 2 large onions, cut into crescents
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated.
- pinch of Saffron stamens in a tablespoon or so of cold water
- 1/2 (half) a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (careful, it’s spicy!)
- 1-2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 450mls hot Chicken stock
- Tin of chopped tomatoes
- 75g each of semi-dried apricots and raisins
- 75g of Pistachios ( optional – we’re a nut-free household so we don’t bother)
- Rapeseed oil
- Salt, to taste
- Basmati or Pilau Rice and Naan bread, to serve.
- Put the saffron on to soak in a tablespoon of water.
- Heat 1-2 tablespoonfuls of oil in the casserole to a medium-hot heat
- add the lamb pieces, and stir around to allow them to brown a little ( about 5-10 minutes)
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Stir in and allow them to soften but not brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger.
- Add the spices, the saffron and it’s soaking water, and the stock.
- Stir all well to combine
- add the chopped tomatoes, and stir in.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Add the apricots, raisins and nuts, if using.
- Give it all one last stir, then cover with a close-fitting lid and put into the oven at 160 degrees
- Give it about an hour – the leg of lamb pieces will cook fairly quickly, but shoulder or other cuts will take a little longer.
- If you think it’s drying out, add a little more water and return to the oven at a reduced heat (about 120-140) for the final cooking of about 30 minutes.
- It’s ready to eat as soon as the lamb is cooked – you’ll have to taste a bit to see,
- I serve this really simply with basmati rice and Naan or flatbread.
- Naturally this will taste even better if you leave it until tomorrow, so it’s perfect for preparing ahead.
- Some people don’t like Lamb, so I think skinless and boneless chicken thighs might be worth a shot in this sauce. Reduce the cooking time if you’re using Chicken thighs.
- I removed this from the oven about 15-20 minutes before I served it. I think that slight cooling enhances the flavours.
- We had this next door one time, served with a Moroccan-style couscous, it was very good too.