Justin and I went to Morocco on our honeymoon. We had our 'official' wedding in the South of France, and then caught a ferry from Sète (in France) to Tangiers. The journey took us across the Mediterranean sea, and after 1 night on board we arrived in Africa.
We had some wonderful tagines while we were there. There are two classic combinations; chicken with preserved lemons, and lamb with apricots. This recipe is inspired by the latter, and loosely adapted from Rick Stein's French Odyssey cookbook.
- 4lbs lamb shanks, cut across the bone into 2" thick slices
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 teaspoons ras el hanout
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- 8 small waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in half
- 5 tomatoes, thickly sliced
- 1 cup of dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2-3 cups chicken stock
- 4 bay leaves
- Handful pine nuts, lightly roasted - for garnish
- Coriander, roughly chopped - for garnish
- 14 oz couscous
- 14 oz chicken stock
- Remove any excess fat from the lamb, and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a cast-iron casserole dish and brown the lamb on all sides, then set aside.
- Add the garlic and onion to the remaining oil in the casserole dish, and fry gently for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ras el hanout, and chili flakes, and fry for another minute.
- Now add the potatoes, tomatoes, apricots, honey, and lemon zest, and turn to coat everything in the spice mixture. Return the lamb to the casserole dish, and add stock until the liquid just covers the meat. If you need more liquid, just add water.
- Add the bay leaves.
- Once the tagine starts to boil, turn the heat down, cover the casserole dish, and allow it to simmer for 2-3 hours, turning the lamb from time to time. You'll know it's ready when the lamb is very tender, and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
- When the lamb is ready, you can prepare the couscous. Heat the chicken stock until it's boiling, and pour over the couscous. Allow the couscous to absorb the liquid for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
- To serve, garnish the tagine with roasted pine nuts and coriander.