I’m not generally a fan of meat and fruit together in a meal but there’s something about fruit in a tagine that just works. Leave it out and it doesn’t have the same satisfying flavour. I’ve opted to include finely chopped fruit in my tagine so that I get the flavour but with the long, slow cooking the fruit almost disappears into the sauce.

I serve this with herby couscous – using parsley and mint as I do in the tagine. You could also add toasted almonds and roasted vegetables to the couscous.

This is a very easy recipe. All the hard work is done by the stove or slow cooker whilst you get on with whatever you need to do.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 3 – 4 hours

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

500g lamb shoulder, cubed

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 can/carton chopped tomatoes

400 ml beef stock

1 tbsp runny honey

1 tsp saffron strands

1/2 preserved lemon (or 2 of the very small ones), skin only, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped dates

a handful of parsley, finely chopped, stalks separated from the leaves

a handful of mint, finely chopped

410g can chickpeas, drained

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

  1. Heat the oil over a high heat in a lidded saute or casserole pan. Add the meat to the pan and brown all over.
  2. Turn down the heat and gently cook the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time, until the garlic fumes dissipate. Don’t let the garlic go brown.
  3. Stir in the ground spices before adding the tomatoes, stock, honey, saffron, preserved lemon, dates, parsley stalks, half the mint, chickpeas and seasoning.
  4. Stir well and bring to the boil before turning the heat right down. Cook very slowly with the lid on for a few hours until the meat is tender. You could also cook this in a slow cooker.
  5. Stir through the parsley leaves and remaining mint. Check the seasoning and serve with couscous.