Spiced Lamb and Date Tagine
Inspired by a traditional Moroccan tagine, this recipe marries spiced leg of lamb with sticky dates. Stir in lemon and honey before scattering almonds and sesame seeds.
Of course it is fabulous to make this recipe in a traditional tagine dish, not only because it looks great but also because I think it tastes better too. Don’t worry too much, though, if you don’t have one — just use a heavy-based pan instead. (If you are using a tagine dish, you will need to put a heat diffuser underneath it or it will crack!)
|1kg (2¼lb)||leg of lamb|
|A dollop||of butter|
|2 tbsp||olive oil|
|1||medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced|
|2 tsp||each ground cinnamon and ground ginger|
|500ml (18fl oz)||water|
|3 tbsp||chopped dates|
|Salt and black pepper|
|2 tbsp||runny honey|
|2 tbsp||lemon juice|
|8||fresh dates, stoned|
|55g (2oz)||whole shelled almonds, toasted|
|1 tbsp||sesame seeds, toasted|
You will need a tagine dish or heavy-based pan.
Get your butcher to cut the lamb into even cubes about 14cm (1½in). Melt the butter and oil together in a tagine or heavy-based pan and seal the meat on all sides. Add the onions and cook them really, really slowly until translucent. Now you can add those heady spices and stir them until their aroma is released.
Pour in the water and drop in the chopped dates. Season well, then cover and cook really slowly until the meat is as soft as butter: 1—1½ hours. The most heavenly aromas will fill your home!
To finish, stir in the honey and lemon juice. Lastly, scatter on the fresh dates, then sprinkle on the toasted almonds and sesame seeds. Make sure you have plenty of bread to mop up the delicious sauce.