Lamb and date tagine

We love North African and Middle Eastern food – particularly Lebanese. After recently buying a slow cooker, this is one of the first recipes that we tried. It is from a book called The Moroccan Collection by Hilaire Walden which we have had for many years and from which every recipe has been a success. I have also purchased another highly recommended book called North African Cookery by Arto der Haroutunian – thank you Bertie! – and look forward to trying some recipes from there as many are Paleo-friendly or can be easily adapted.

The original recipe cooks the tagine in the oven for 1.5 hours.  We left it in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low which results in deliciously soft lamb and a wonderful combination of flavours. The original also uses shallots but we didn’t have any when I made it this time although we have used them before and I think that they give a nicer flavour. We also added everything together at the same time rather than add the dates and honey 15 minutes before the end of cooking as the recipe suggests. The dates melt away giving a hint of sweetness. You could leave out the honey if you wish.

We cooked the recipe this time without marinading the meat and it is still delicious (perhaps because it is slow-cooked). As all dishes like this, it is even better the next day.

Serve with cauliflower cous-cous and Bertie’s harissa. We sometimes add a roasted red pepper to the harissa too.

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 large onion, sliced or 18 shallots, peeled

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

2lb diced lamb shoulder (the original recipe calls for 3lb but we only had 2)

large pinch of crushed saffron threads

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated or chopped (could use ground)

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 cinnamon stick, broken in two

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon of honey

1/2 pint chicken stock

1 tablespoon (or more) coconut flour

2 tablespoons fresh coriander

2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley

3 oz dates

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the ground coriander, ginger, saffron, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, garlic and meat in a large bowl. Pop into the fridge and leave to marinate overnight.

Remove lamb from the fridge about an hour before cooking.

 

 

Fry the onions or shallots in some oil until golden and add to slow cooker.

 

 

 

Fry the meat until gently browned. If you did not marinate the meat, just fry it in oil with some garlic and ginger until browned and then add the spices. Fry for 1 or 2 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

 

 

 

Add all the other ingredients to the slow cooker, give it a good stir and leave on a low setting for 8 hours. Alternatively pop into the oven on about 160 (325) for 2.5-3 hours.

 

 

 

Check the tagine every now and then and add some more coconut flour towards the end of cooking if it needs thickening.

Scatter some coriander on top and serve.

 

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