A Moroccan staple, ‘tagine’ refers to both the dish and the vessel in which it is cooked. This recipe makes use of the classic sweet/savoury combination with stewed prunes and apricots to offset the unctuous lamb.
- 1 tbsp ras el hanout (see Note)
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 1 tsp ghee
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
- 6 x 225 g lamb neck chops
- 4 onions, halved, thinly sliced
- 100 g (⅔ cup) raisins, soaked in a bowl of cold water for 2 minutes, drained
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- roasted blanched almonds and toasted white sesame seeds, to serve
Stewed apricots and prunes
- 200 g (1⅓) dried apricots
- 200 g prunes, pitted
- 125 ml (½ cup) orange juice
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 10 minutes
Combine ras el hanout, saffron threads, ghee, oil and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Add lamb, mix to coat and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook, turning, for 4 minutes or until browned all over. Cover lamb with 1 litre (4 cups) water and simmer over low heat, covered, for 1½ hours or until lamb is tender.
Meanwhile, to make stewed fruit, combine all ingredients in a saucepan with 180 ml (¾ cup) water over low heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 12 minutes or until fruit is plump. Set aside until needed.
Remove lamb from pan and set aside. Add onion to same pan and cook for 5 minutes or until it starts to soften. Reduce heat to low, add raisins and cook for 15 minutes. Add honey and sugar and cook for 5 minutes or until sauce is reduced by one-third. Return lamb to pan and cook for a further 10 minutes or until tender and warmed through. Stir through cinnamon and remove from heat.
To serve, transfer lamb to a large serving plate, cover with sauce, spoon over stewed fruit and sprinkle almonds and sesame seeds on top.
• Ras el hanout is a Moroccan blend of spices from specialist food shops.
Photography Tom Donald.
As seen in Feast magazine, October 2014, Issue 36.