Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Lamb tagine with medjoul dates

Posted on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 by in Taste

This recipe comes from the Souss, where argan oil is produced and is often used to flavour all sorts of dishes, including this tagine. You don’t need to use it, but if you’ve been to that part of Morocco and have eaten this tagine there, you’ll miss it if you don’t. Use Medjoul dates, pitted or unpitted as you wish, for this unusual tagine.

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours

You will need
1.6kg shoulder of lamb on the bone, cut into 4cm chunks
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt
2 tbsp saffron water
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾–1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2–3 tbsp melted unsalted butter, argan oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, very finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
225g Medjoul dates, pitted if you like
Ground Ceylon cinnamon

Method
1. Trim the excess fat from the meat. Crush the garlic with one teaspoon salt to a paste in a mortar. Loosen with the saffron water, then stir in the spices and butter or oil.
2. Place the meat and spice mixture in a 28 to 30 centimetres tagine set on a heat diffuser over a low heat, and toss and cook to release the aroma of the spices. Stir in half the onion, the coriander and 240 millilitres hot water. Raise the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Cover the tagine, reduce the heat and simmer for two hours.
3. Add the remaining onions to the tagine and simmer, uncovered, for a further one hour or until the meat is very tender and the sauce has reduced to a thick gravy.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. If your tagine is not capable of taking high heat, transfer the contents of the pot to a shallow baking dish. Place the dates around or among the chunks of meat. Sprinkle each date or cluster of dates with pinches of ground cinnamon. Bake, uncovered, in the upper part of the oven for about 15 minutes or until the dates become a little crusty. Serve at once.

Recipe, The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert (Bloomsbury)
Photograph: Quentin Bacon

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