Lamb Tagine with Jewelled Cous Cous

Good evening, lovelies.  I actually wrote this on Thursday night, but have only just got round to putting the photos on 🙂

A Man and I both had work today, so we had a freezer meal – lamb tagine which I made a few weeks ago.  I’ll try and remember what was in it!  I served it with cous cous, which I love!  It’s simple to cook, easy to flavour and delicious hot or cold (I made up a huge batch so that I could have it in my lunch box later in the week).  It’s just important to season it well – use a combination of a stock, along with some dried fruit and nuts or seeds to give it some different textures.  I bought a duck again during the week, portioned it and made stock, so used some duck stock for the cous cous, but chicken or vegetable stock is absolutely fine.  Had I not had a pan of delicious duck stock on the hob, I’d have used a chicken or veggie stock cube.

This isn’t technically a tagine, the name referring to the type of cooking pot used, which condenses the steam from the stew back into it.  However, it uses the same sort of techniques, and when it tastes this yummy, I don’t think it matters too much whether you used the right pot or not!  As the lamb is very sweet, I made the cous cous with lemon juice to give it enough of an acidic tang to cut through the stew.

Sumac and safflower are spices I hadn’t used until my mother-out-law brought us a load of spices back from a holiday in Turkey.  Safflower, though giving a very pretty yellow colour and strands to the cous cous (similarly to saffron) has virtually no taste, and is therefore used in this dish for purely aesthetic reasons.  Sumac, on the other hand, is quite pungent.  It has a sour, bitter, slightly salty citrus flavour and is definitely one I’ll be looking out for once we run out!

Much love,

Gemma xx

Lamb Tagine and Jewelled cous cous

Yet another beautifully out of focus image from the Gemma school of photography...

Lamb scrag and neck fillet
Tinned tomatoes and tomato purée
Cinnamon, mint and other Morrocan herbs and spices

Cous cous
Lemon zest and juice
Red Onion
Nuts (I had walnuts and hazelnuts left over from my Christmassy baking a couple of weeks ago)
Dried apricots
Dried mint

  1. Gently fry the onion in olive oil until soft, then add the lamb and brown.  Add the spices, and fry for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and purée and stir well.  Fill the empty tin with water and add this to the pan.
  3. Add the vegetables and dates, stir well and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 45 minutes.  If you prefer, this can be left in the oven on a low heat, adding more liquid as necessary.  The lamb should break down and become meltingly tender.  If you like big chunks of meat in your stew, then keep a close eye on it and take it off of the heat once the meat is cooked through.  However, what I particularly liked about this tagine was that the lamb had broken down and permeated its flavour throughout.  The scrag will have a bone in, so you may like to remove it and strip the meat from the bone back into the stew before serving.
  4. Roughly chop the nuts, and fry in a dry pan for a couple of minutes until toasted.  Add some olive oil and gently fry the sliced onion, lemon zest and apricot.  Add some sumac to the pan, fry for a couple of minutes and take off of the heat.
  5. Mix the safflower and mint to the cous cous in a bowl.  Mix the lemon juice with hot stock and pour over the cous cous.  Cover with a lid or plate to steam the cous cous.
  6. Leave the cous cous to cook for 5 – 10 minutes.  Stir to separate the grains and try a little to test whether it is cooked, replacing the lid if not, and adding more hot water if necessary.  Once cooked, stir in the onion and nut mix and serve with the tagine.

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