Dinner on the table: 40 mins*
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
*you can cook it for longer to increase tenderness
North African cuisine involves the clever use of spices that add depth to dishes and combine the flavours of sweet, sour and savoury. In this dish, the sweet dried apricots balance the fats from the lamb with the sharpness of the tomatoes to create a dish of Arabian elegance.
The first traceable use of the word tagine, or tajine, can be found in One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Arabic stories from the 9th century. However, it is likely that the Bedouin people were cooking sweet, spiced stews in earthenware pots many years before that.
Lamb stew is best cooked as long and slow as possible as it becomes increasingly mouthwatering and tender through gentle cooking. If you have time, let it stew for hours! This tagine is served with couscous, a quick and easy to cook grain made from wheat.
180g Diced lamb
1 tin Chopped tomatoes (400g)
½ Butternut squash
60g Dried apricots
2 Red onions
3 Garlic cloves
1 MK tagine spice mix: 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground cinnamon
You need: cooking oil, olive oil, salt and pepper
3 of your 5 a day
1. Prepare the vegetables:
- Peel the butternut squash, cut lengthways, scoop out the seeds, and chop into 1cm cubes.
- Cut the red onions into half-moon shaped slices.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic.
- Roughly chop the dried apricots.
2. Heat up ½ tablespoon of cooking oil in a large saucepan over a high heat.
Once hot, add the diced lamb and stir-fry for 3 minutes, browning the outside.
Add the chopped onions and continue to fry for 2 minutes.
Chef’s tip: the Maillard Reaction
You want to brown the outside of the lamb. Browning foods, such as pan frying or searing meat, toasting bread and baking cookies, give a distinctive flavour. This is because of a chemical reaction, called the Maillard Reaction, that occurs between proteins and sugars above 150°C. Understanding the Maillard Reaction is important to make great tasting cooking.
3. Add the chopped garlic and MK tagine spice mix and cook for 30 seconds.
Stir constantly to stop the spices from burning.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes.
Fill the tin with water and add to the sauce to wash out all the tomatoey goodness.
5. Add the butternut squash and apricots.
Turn down to a medium to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
If it gets too dry and thick add a little extra water.
If it gets too thin, continue cooking for longer, it will thicken.
Chef’s tip: slow cooking
If you have the time, let it stew for awhile, an hour is ideal. The lamb will soften further and the flavours will intensify. Time can be a very economical ingredient making smaller and less expensive cuts of meat richer and more flavourful.
Move on to the next step 10 minutes before you want to eat.
6. Boil 400ml of water in a kettle.
Put the couscous into a bowl and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the grains.
Use your hands to massage the oil onto the grains.
7. Pour 400ml of boiling water over the couscous.
Mix, then cover tightly with clingfilm or a plate and leave to steam for 10 minutes.
8. Check the lamb and the butternut squash are cooked, both should be tender. Taste.
Season with salt and pepper.
Fluff up the couscous grains with a fork.
Serve the couscous topped with the lamb tagine.
Fruit and Veg 56%
Starchy Carbs 32%
- Gluten (couscous)
404g per portion
Energy 445 kcal 22%
Fat 15g 21%
Sat 5g 23%
Sug 15g 17%
Salt 1g 14%
Energy per 100g: 111kcal / 462 kJ
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