This is adapted from a Diana Henry recipe and has a wonderfully interesting, unusual flavour. Tagines sound and look (and taste) impressive, but actually they’re dead easy. Long, slow cooking to get the meat really tender is the key. It’s worth making more than you need and freezing the rest: it reheats brilliantly.
Couscous and a green salad are the only accompaniments you need.
Drink it with a supple red Rioja with some oak, but not too much: you want a really silky, elegant wine.
Treat yourself to a Gran Reserva if it’s a special occasion.
6 tbsp olive oil
1.4 kg diced lamb
2-3 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1.5 tsp ground cumin
large pinch of saffron
salt and pepper
1-2 preserved lemons (available in jars from good supermarkets or specialist food shops)
225 g green olives, rinsed
2 tbsp each chopped parsley and coriander
Heat the oil and brown the lamb over a high heat in a large pan. Add the onion and coat it with the juices, then add the garlic and the spices. Season with pepper and a little salt: the preserved lemons will add extra salt at the end, so don’t overdo the salt at this stage. Add water until the meat is just covered, put a tight-fitting lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer over the lowest possible heat for a couple of hours, or until the meat is really tender.
Chop the preserved lemon(s), making sure to remove all the pips. Add the lemon to the tagine, along with the olives. If the tagine is a bit too runny, take the lid off and allow it to reduce for a few minutes. Stir in the herbs just before you serve it.
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