I wanted to have a few friends over, and I wanted to try something new. I’ve always loved tagine, a meat dish (or chicken) with sweet elements, traditionally stewed plums, or dates, or raisins. The combination of sweet and savoury and the depth of spices make this a comforting yet challenging dish for your palate. I don’t have a tagine pot, and I didn’t have hours to slow cook the recipe, but I looked around and found this conveniently simple, and relatively fast recipe. This is also really healthy, especially if you use lean meat. The added apricots give it a lot of fiber, click on the original recipe link to see nutritional information. I made it with a good friends help and it turned out to be a recipe that will definitely be repeated many times. Make, expand your culinary expertise and enjoy!
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500g lean diced lamb
- 1 large onion , roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots , quartered lengthways and cut into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 2 tbsp ras-el-hanout spice mix (see tip, below)
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 400g can chickpeas , rinsed and drained
- 200g dried apricots (I also added around 150 g of squishy dates, gave it more of a pronounced sweet flavor)
- 600ml chicken stock
Ras el hanout, a North African spice mix, contains cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric and black pepper. Find it in larger supermarkets, or use a mix of the spices above.
- 120g pack pomegranate seeds
- 2 large handfuls coriander , roughly chopped
*Note, I doubled the recipe as I was cooking for a crowd, but for most purposes the original recipe should provide more than enough. I didn’t find the ras el hanout mix, so I made my own by just randomly measuring out the spices listed in the spice mix until I came up with around the 2 tablespoon mark. Turned out great!
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Heat the oil in a casserole and brown the lamb on all sides. Scoop the lamb out onto a plate, then add the onion and carrots and cook for 2-3 mins until golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more. Stir in the spices and tomatoes, and season. Tip the lamb back in with the chickpeas and apricots (and dates if using). Pour over the stock, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover the dish and place in the oven for 1 hr. If, at 5-10 minutes before removing from oven the sauce still seems overly liquidy, you want a more thick stew like sauce, add a slurry of cornstarch (equal parts cornstarch mixed with equal parts cold water, start with 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 1 tablespoon water) and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes more. *NOTE, I did all the stovetop work like sauteeing the vegetables and meat and simmering the broth in a nonstick metal pan, then transferred everything to a pyrex deep dish container when it came time to put it in the oven. I wasn’t sure how well my pyrex would do on a stovetop so I didn’t want to risk a kitchen disaster!
- If the lamb is still a little tough, give it 20 mins more until tender. When ready, leave it to rest so it’s not piping hot, then serve scattered with pomegranate and herbs, with couscous or rice alongside.
*Serve with this curried couscous. It is the perfect accompaniment and takes just a few minutes to prepare…you might find the couscous is even more popular than the tagine!