Mary Berry's Lamb Tagine
For the TV series accompanying this book, I travelled to Morocco where tagines, like this, are a staple dish. They may be slow to cook but they are quick to make. This is my quick version as some tagines take three hours to cook. The spices used here are a classic combination for tagine recipes and give a wonderful depth of flavour. All these spices are good to keep in your store cupboard, so you always have them to hand.
|2–3 tbsp||sunflower oil|
|750g (1lb 10oz)||lamb neck fillet, sliced into 2–3cm (¾–1¼in) pieces|
|2||large onions, sliced|
|3||celery sticks, sliced|
|2||garlic cloves, crushed|
|4cm (1½in)||knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated|
|1 tbsp||ground cumin|
|1 tbsp||ground coriander|
|2 tsp||ground cinnamon|
|400g||tin of chopped tomatoes|
|450ml (15fl oz)||chicken or lamb stock|
|2 tbsp||tomato purée|
|2 tsp||harissa paste|
|1 tbsp||runny honey|
|8||ready-to-eat dried apricots, quartered|
|2||preserved lemons, sliced into 8 pieces and any pips removed|
|400g||tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed|
|2 tbsp||chopped parsley|
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 40 minutes–2 hours 10 minutes
Preheat the oven to 150˚c/130˚c Fan/Gas 2.
Heat a deep ovenproof frying pan with a lid, or a large cast-iron casserole dish, over a high heat. Add the oil and the lamb and fry for 3–4 minutes or until the meat is golden brown all over. You may need to do this in two batches. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the onions and celery to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes until starting to soften but not browned. Add the garlic and ginger, then sprinkle in the spices and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for 10 seconds, add the tomatoes, stock, tomato purée, harissa paste, honey, apricots and preserved lemons. Bring to the boil, stirring, and then return the lamb and any juices to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven, stir in the chickpeas and check the seasoning, then return to the oven, uncovered, and cook for another ½–1 hour or until the onions have softened and the meat is tender (see note).
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with the Nutty Wholemeal Couscous Salad or Moroccan Summer Salad from Quick Cooking.
Mary's wise words:
The cooking time depends on the size of the lamb pieces – smaller chunks may take a bit less time to cook.