There is nothing I like more than to eat stew on a winter’s day. Sometimes, I like to add a touch of exotic to my dinner, so instead of making a “normal stew”, I make tajine. I have already shared my recipes for Lamb Tajine with Quinces and Lemon Chicken Tajine with Olives – 2 of my family’s favourites. Today I will show you how to make a basic Lamb Tajine. When I say basic though, I don’t mean boring, I mean “easy”. The addition of dried fruits and almonds gives this dish its distinctive flavour, and the meat is so tender it melts in the mouth… no boring stew here! Serve it with couscous for the perfect North African experience.
- 1 kg – 2 lbs. lamb cut into 5 to 6 cm – 2" or 3" pieces
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp saffron threads melted in 1 tbsp warm water
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp Ras El Hanout
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 small bunch of coriander
- ¾ cup dried apricots
- ¾ cup dried prunes pitted
- ½ cup slivered almonds toasted
- 3 cups water
In an oven proof casserole, sauté the lamb in the extra virgin olive oil until golden brown. Remove it and keep it aside.
In the same casserole, melt the butter and sauté the onions, until golden brown. Add all the spices except for the saffron and coriander and stir well. Add the browned lamb, the saffron, coriander, apricots, prunes and water. Bring it to a simmering point on the stove.
Cover the casserole/dish (if your dish doesn’t have a lid, use aluminium foil and stretch it to the edges of the dish in order to minimise evaporation and the loss of juices) and place it on the lowest rack of the oven. Adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly, it has to go on for 3-4 hours. I cooked it at 150ºC – 300ºF for 3 and a half hours.
Then cook on the stove on high heat to reduce the remaining liquids until the sauce is thick.
Garnish with the toasted slivered almonds and more coriander leaves. Serve warm with couscous.