I have always wanted to cook using a tagine. It is something about slow cooked food, melding with the spices and ladled over buttery cous-cous that has captured my imagination. Fortunately, Christmas came with the bonus of being given a tagine as a present. After some home testing, I have tweaked this recipe a little and it is now a firm favourite. Yielding lamb, with garlic, saffron and cinnamon; the chestnuts replace potatoes and the whole lot is a deep and sweet delight. One tip, I like to fry the onions and brown the lamb in a separate frying pan, I find it works more quickly than in the diffused heat of the tagine. If you don’t have a tagine use a regular casserole dish, but don’t miss out on this warming treat of a meal.
- tablespoon of butter and one of olive oil
- 2 onions finely chopped
- teaspoon of cinnamon
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or shredded
- pinch of saffron threads
- About 1lb of lamb (shoulder or leg) cut into bite-sized pieces
- 250g peeled chestnuts (vacuum packed are good)
- 1-2 tablespoons of dark runny honey
- seeds of a fresh pomegranate
- small bunch of fresh mint chopped
- small bunch of fresh coriander chopped.
- Heat the butter and oil in the pan, stir in the chopped onions, ginger and garlic and saute until they begin to colour. Add in the saffron, teaspoon of cinnamon and then in the lamb.
- When there is some deep flavours being given off add enough water to just cover the lot. Scrape the pan down for all the best bits. Put the lot into the tagine and pour over the now flavoured water.
- Bring the lot to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for around an hour.
- Add the 250g chestnuts, stir in the honey and cover and cook gently for a further thirty minutes, or until the lamb is nice and tender.
- Season with salt and plenty of pepper and toss in the pomegranate seeds, some of the mint and coriander and allow to stand off the heat for about 5-10 minutes.
- Plate up, and sprinkle the remaining herbs and seeds over the top. Serve with some buttered cous-cous.