Jono liked this so much he swears that if he’d been on his own he would have scoffed the lot! The combination of lamb shoulder, spices, apricots and preserved lemons give this dish such richly and multi-layered flavours that are all exceptionally well balanced and moreish. Make the most of fresh apricots while we can get them!
This needs time to marinate which will add even more depth of flavour and tastiness, but if you forget even a short marinating time will still give a very nice result.
Lamb Tagine with Apricots (serves 4)
- 1kg lamb shoulder, diced
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 onions, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 60g sultanas
- 2 tablespoons runny honey
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 350g fresh apricots
- 1 preserved lemon, pulp discarded and skin finely chopped
- 1 handful coriander leaves, torn
- 1 small handful mint leaves, torn
Mix ground spices thoroughly together then toss lamb in half the ground spices and leave for at least 4 hours, but try to marinate from the night before (we didn’t read the recipe properly so didn’t marinade it at all and it was still fab!).
Heat oven to 160C/Gas 3. Warm olive oil gently in a deep, heavy-based casserole and add seasoned meat in small batches; brown on all sides and then remove. Next add the onions and garlic with the remaining spices and soften, stirring regularly. Add a little more oil if it dries too much because of the spices. Be careful to moderate the heat as you don’t want to burn the spices.
Add sultanas, honey, saffron, stock, tomatoes and whole apricots and then return the meat to the pan. Bring to the boil, season with salt and black pepper, cover with a lid and place into the oven.
Cook for 2.5 hours.
Return meat to sauce and stir in the coriander and mint.
Serve with couscous.
[Original recipe from Nigel Slater: Tender Volume II (fruits)]