Lamb tagine with dried fruit

Lamb tagine with dried fruit


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About this recipe: An aromatic North African-style casserole, richly flavoured with dried fruits and warmly spiced with ginger and cinnamon. The sweetness of the honey tempers the fiery harissa, and chickpeas add high-fibre carbohydrate to the dish.

Zoë Harpham

Serves: 4 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500 g lean boneless lamb (such as leg), cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 cups (500 ml) diluted salt-reduced or homemade vegetable stock, hot
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 orange, zest cut into strips
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon harissa, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 16 pickling onions or small shallots, peeled
  • ⅔ cup (125 g) pitted dried dates
  • 1 cup (125 g) dried apricots
  • 2 × 400 g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. Add the lamb and fry until lightly browned. Push the meat to one side and add the chopped onion to the pan. Fry for 5–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.
  2. Stir the saffron into the hot stock, then pour into the pan. Add the tomato paste, strips of orange zest and spices. Stir well, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and leave to simmer gently for 1½ hours.
  3. Uncover the pan and take out about a cup of the sauce. Stir the harissa and honey into the reserved sauce, then stir the mixture back into the pan.
  4. Add the pickling onions or shallots, dates, apricots and chickpeas and mix. Simmer gently, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Season to taste and scatter the chopped walnuts over the top, then serve. Put a little extra harissa on the table for those who like more heat.

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