Easy to prepare, cooked in a slow cooker and then satisfyingly quick to serve with little washing-up.
I have experimented with different recipes to find a balance of herbs and spices that I love.
Lean lamb steaks work well. Alternatively, use a whole joint, bones and all, for extra flavour and easy preparation.
Tip- Prepare on Saturday morning for a perfect Saturday night dish.
British lamb leg steaks, one perperson (approximately 600g for 4 people), chunked into large cubes
Or 1.2kg whole lamb shoulder(check it will fit into your slow cooker)
1 large Onion, chopped or approx. 12 shallots, halved (roughly 3 whole shallots per person)
Coarsly grated Fresh ginger root, a 2cm cubed piece is adequate
3 fat Garlic cloves, grated, as per the ginger root
500ml Good chicken stock
2 teaspoons plain flour mixed with a little water to form a runny paste
¼ teaspoon cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick
large pinch Saffron
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
150g (approx.) dried, soft, Apricots, 3 per person
175g dried, soft, Prunes,3 per person
a sprig of fresh thyme
1 Bay leaf
2-4 teaspoons Cornflour
large pinch Sea salt
To serve-Couscous or rice, a green salad and bread
1) Preheat the slow cooker on High heat for 20 minutes. Trim any obvious large pieces of fat from the meat.
2) Heat a frying pan until it is nice and hot then seal the meat quickly on all sides and place in the crock pot.
3) Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the frying pan and turn down the heat a little to soften without burning for a couple of minutes.
4) Add the spices and pepper to the pan with the onion mix and cook the spices gently for 1 minute.
5) Add a little of the hot stock to the pan and stir well, scrape any residue from the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil. Then add the rest of the stock and return to the boil.
6) Add the plain flour and quickly stir in to thicken the sauce slightly, cook for 2 minutes
7) Carefully pour the sauce into the crock pot over the meat.
8) Stir in the whole prunes and apricots
9) The meat must be covered by liquid so, if necessary, boil a kettle of water and top up the liquid level in the crock pot with the boiling water.
10) Replace the lid on the crock pot and cook for about 6 hours on high for the first half hour then reduce to low for 5-6 hours.
If using the large lamb joint: leave the crock pot on high for the full cooking time. At least 6 hours.
11) After this time check that the lamb is cooked and nicely tender. Remove the meat and vegetables from the crock pot, using a slotted spoon, and set aside for a moment. keep warm.
If using a large lamb joint: place on a meat dish. The meat should fall off the bone easily. Discard any bones, gristle, fat and skin. Retain the luscious chunks of meat and chop into smaller pieces if necessary.
12) Place a metal sieve over a large saucepan and sieve the sauce from the crock pot into the saucepan. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and cinnamon stick. Tip the onions and prunes etc back into the crock pot with the chunks of lamb meat and replace the lid to keep warm.
13) If using a large lamb joint instead of lean lamb pieces: Give the sauce 5 minutes to settle and then, using a large metal spoon, skim off as much of the fat layer from the surface as you can, and discard.
14) Poor the sauce into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove the lid and simmer the sauce for approximately 20 minutes to reduce the sauce by about 1/3.
15) At the end of the 20 minutes mix the cornflour with a little water in a teacup and then add in one go to the boiling sauce and stir well to prevent any lumps from forming. If you need a thicker sauce repeat the process. Cook for a few minutes. Taste the sauce to check the seasoning. You may wish to add a large pinch of sea salt.
16) Add the sauce to the crockpot.
17) Give the Tagine a gentle stir to mix everything together and replace the lid. It is now ready to serve.
18) Serve with cooked, plain couscous or rice and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.