Moroccan lamb tagine with apricot & almond couscous
400g quality diced stewing lamb, such as neck fillet
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon runny honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red onions
3 cloves of garlic
½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 fresh red chilli
1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
40g dried apricots
40g black olives (stone in)
40g flaked almonds
1 pinch of saffron
Toss the lamb in the spices, honey and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and mix well. Peel and roughly chop the onions, peel and finely slice the garlic and cut the aubergine into 2cm chunks. Roughly chop the parsley, stalks and all, then deseed and finely chop the chilli.
Sear the lamb in a medium non-stick sauté pan over a medium heat with a lug of oil for around 2 minutes, or until browned, stirring regularly. Turn the heat up to high and add another lug of oil along with the onions, chilli, garlic, most of the parsley and aubergine. Cook for around 15 minutes, or until softened and lightly golden.
Pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, and add 1 tin’s worth of water. Add the chickpeas, juices and all, then roughly tear in half of the apricots. Destone and tear in the olives, then season to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1½ hours, or until the lamb is tender.
Just before the tagine is ready, place a small saucepan over a high heat, add the flaked almonds and toast for 2 minutes, or until golden, then tip into a small bowl. Return the saucepan to the heat, pour in 300ml cold water, add the saffron and bring to the boil. Add the couscous, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Leave for 5 minutes to plump up. Finely slice the remaining apricots, fluff up the couscous with a fork and stir through the almonds, apricots and lemon juice. Serve up with the tagine and finish with a sprinkling of the reserved parsley and a grating of lemon zest.