Morocco is a blessed climatic territory, bathed by the Saharan sun yet cooled by the Atlantic trade winds, this region is the winter fruit and vegetable basket for Europe. Add to this its rich cultural and culinary heritage, provided by the Berber, Ottoman and Spanish empires and you have a cuisine that is hard to match in its quality, diversity and flavour combinations. Travel with us to a souk in Marrakech or Agadir to experience the vibrant food culture of Morocco without leaving your kitchen.
Moroccan Lamb Tagine.
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground black pepper
1½ tbsp paprika
1½ tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 x shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into 5cm/2in chunks (about 1.1kg/2½lb meat in total)
2 large onions, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp argan oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
570ml/1 pint tomato juice
2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
115g/4oz dried apricots, cut in half
55g/2oz dates, cut in half
55g/2oz sultanas or raisins
85g/3oz flaked almonds
1 tsp saffron stamens, soaked in cold water
600ml/1 pint lamb stock
1 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Place the cayenne, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine. Place the lamb in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of argan oil in a large casserole dish. Add the grated onion and the remaining spice mix and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes so that the onions are soft but not coloured. Add the crushed garlic for the final 3 minutes.
In a separate frying pan, heat the remaining oil and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides then add the browned meat to the casserole dish. De-glaze the frying pan with ¼ pint of tomato juice and add these juices to the pan.
Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, saffron, lamb stock and honey to the casserole dish. Bring to the boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
Place the lamb in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over the chopped herbs. Serve.
Katayama provide a ready to use Lamb tagine spice for your convenience.
Argan oil is a Moroccan oil from the argan tree. You should be able to find it in specialist food shops.