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27th December
2010
written by Nibblish

I absolutely love when the house fills up with the the intense fragrance of a good tagine cooking away slowly. My mum was taught a few very tasty North African recipes when she lived in Tunisia as a teenager which became classics in the family over the years. It can be a little bit time consuming, but mainly for the meat to marinate and for the dish to cook really slowly so just get started early and do something else in the meantime!

Ingredients

(serves 4)


  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Small bunch of fresh Thyme
  • 1 dry bay leave
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small can of chickpeas
  • 1kg diced lamb
  • 1 cup chicken stock
    • Greek-style yoghurt

    1 handful flakes almonds, toasted



Instructions

  1. Combine spices and salt in a large bowl. Add oil, rind and half the juice of a lemon and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well-coated in paste. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours if time permits. Even up to overnight if you can – the longer it marinates the tastier it becomes!


  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Put lamb mixture into the tagine dish or into a casserole with a tight-fitting lid over the hob, add oil and fry the meat for 5 minutes. Add the onions, sliced garlic, thyme, bay leave and fry for a further 2 mins. Add stock, tomatoes, chickpeas and remaining lemon juice. Stir until well-combined.


  3. Cover, place in the oven and cook for 2h or until lamb is tender. Check it every hour or so and add more water or stock if it gets too dry. If you want to add more vegetables, add it 30 mins before the end to keep it from going too mushy. Check the consistency once cooked, if it’s too liquid then put it back on the hob uncovered and boil it off a little bit until you’re happy with the thickness. 


    Serve immediately with a dollop of yoghurt, sprinkling of almonds & as much fresh chili as you can handle! Plus couscous, salad leaves and maybe some nice rustic bread on the side.

    You can also come up with your own version of the tagine, as long as the spice mix remains the same. Just try pretty much any meat (Eg. beef, chicken) combined with any stew vegetable (Eg. pumpkin, zucchinis) and any fresh herbs (Eg. Coriander, rosemary).

I enjoyed it with my gorgeous fiance (who took the photo) and we polished off our plates in 5 mins! That was one tasty Tagine…!



Now time for a Moroccan sheesha!


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