lamb and chickpea tagine with apricots and raisins, pomegranate and mint cous cous and pitta breads

Having eaten some beautiful Moroccan food at Tagine Zhor recently, I thought I’d give it a go myself. Mt Greedy also bought me a beautiful tagine for my birthday that I haven’t had a chance to use yet, so I wanted to use it and make him a delicious dinner.

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ingredients – for lamb and chickpea tagine

2 tbsp olive oil (if you have argan oil, then use this instead – olive oil is easier to get a hold of though, and the flavour really compliments moroccan cuisine)

2 x white onions, chopped

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground black pepper

pinch of saffron threads

2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped

300-400g diced lamb – i used lamb leg, but neck fillets or shoulder would also work really well for slow cooking

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas

1 tsp tomato puree

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp runny honey

60g dried apricots, cut in half

60g raisins

30g flaked almonds

300ml hot lamb stock

salt and pepper, to taste

handful of fresh coriander and parsley, chopped – to garnish

1 x fresh red chilli, finely slices – to garnish, optional

serves 4

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method

  1. pre-heat the oven to 140°c (go up to 150 if you don’t have a fan assisted oven).
  2. in a wide set pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. add the onions and cook until softened, careful not to brown them.
  3. once the onions are softened, add the dry spices and saffron to the pan and combine. this should start to take the form of a paste, but a dry one. add the garlic to the pan and 100ml water, and stir well. the water will help to create a paste-like texture, and stop the spices from burning.
  4. after the mixture has reduced, add the lamb to the pan and coat in the paste. don’t cook all the way through, but ensure the meat has browned to seal in the flavour.
  5. add in the chickpeas, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, honey, apricots, raisins, almonds and honey and stir well. leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. stir in the lamb stock and season to taste. carefully transfer to your tagine – if you don’t own one, use a casserole dish with a fitted lid – and pop on the lid.
  7. leave in the oven for approx. 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 hours.
  8. remove from the oven and top with the fresh herb and chilli garnish. pop the lid back on quickly, as it really adds to the presentation value!

 

ingredients – for pomegranate and mint cous cous

100g cous cous

100ml boiling water

small knob of butter

1/2 lemon, juice only

handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

80g fresh pomegranate seeds

salt and pepper, to taste

extra fresh mint leaves, to garnish

serves 4

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  1. pour the cous cous grains into a large bowl and pour in the boiling water. stir well to combine, and leave for 5 minutes.
  2. the water should have been fully absorbed in this time, and the cous cous now softened. mix in the butter, lemon juice, chopped mint and pomegranate seeds. season to taste
  3. fluff up the cous cous with a fork, as it does tend to clump together.
  4. garnish with fresh mint leaves – i also used chive flowers to add some extra colour.

 

ingredients – pitta bread

450g strong white flour

pinch of salt and sugar

7g dried yeast (1 x sachet)

300ml warm water, not boiling

makes 6-8 pitta breads


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method

  1. add the flour, salt and sugar to the bowl of a food mixer.
  2. in a separate bowl, combine the yeast with a small amount of warm water to create a thin paste. then stir in the remaining water using a wooden spoon.
  3. pour the mixture over the flour, and use the mixer to combine until it forms a ball. tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and need until it reaches an elastic consistency. set aside in a large bowl and cover with a tea towel. leave to prove for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. pre-heat your oven to 240°c.
  5. once the dough has proved, it should have increased to about 3-4 times the size. using your hands, break up into 6-8 pieces and push into a flat, oval shape. dust them with flour, and pop them on to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. bake for 5 mins, then reduce heat to 220°c. bake for a further 5 minutes.
  6. enjoy warm with your tagine! 🙂

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