Lamb and quince tagine with chermoula and buttered couscous
- October 2015
- Serves 6-8
- Hand-on time 1 hour, simmering time 1 hour 30 min
The sweet flavours of quince work perfectly along side ginger and cinnamon in this classic Moroccan lamb and quince tagine recipe.
- 30.3g (10.4g saturated)
- 67.6g (23.2g sugars)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1kg lean lamb shoulder or leg, cut into chunks
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 5cm fresh ginger, finely grated
- 200g skinned chopped tomatoes, fresh or from a can
- Small cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 4 tbsp clear honey
- 1 small preserved lemon, flesh discarded (from the international section in large supermarkets) or 2 strips lemon zest, finely chopped
- 750ml lamb or chicken stock
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 400g can chickpeas, drained
- Pared zest and juice 1 lemon
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1kg quinces (about 4 medium)
- 40g butter, plus an extra knob
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 50g blanched almonds, toasted in a dry frying pan, then split in half
For the chermoula
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1½ tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp harissa paste
- Good pinch saffron strands
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 20g fresh coriander leaves
- 20g fresh mint leaves
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
For the buttered couscous
- 350g couscous
- ½ tsp salt
- 450ml boiling water
- 25g butter
- Finely grated zest 1 small lemon
- To make the chermoula, blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste in a food processor.
- Heat 11⁄2 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Fry the lamb in 2 batches until browned all over, then lift onto a plate. Add the rest of the oil and onions to the pan and fry over a medium heat until soft and browned. Add the grated ginger, cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, cinnamon, ground ginger, 2 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp chermoula. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then return the lamb to the casserole and add the preserved lemon/lemon zest, stock, 1⁄2 tsp salt and the pepper. Part-cover, then simmer for 1 hour.
- Stir in the chickpeas and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes more until the lamb is tender and the sauce has reduced a little more.
- Meanwhile put 1 litre cold water and the lemon zest and juice in a saucepan. Peel, quarter and core the quinces, putting them in the pan as you go, to stop them browning. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until just tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain well and transfer to a deep frying pan or sauté pan. Add the butter, the remaining 2 tbsp honey, the sugar, cinnamon, 4 tbsp of the lamb cooking liquid and the remaining 1⁄4 tsp salt, then cook gently, turning now and then, until the juices are sticky and reduced and the quinces are tender.
- Shortly before the lamb is ready, put the couscous and salt in a large heatproof bowl, then stir in the hot water. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 5 minutes. Uncover, then fluff up with a fork. Melt the 40g butter in a large pan, add the couscous and stir over a low heat for 2 minutes until heated through, then fork through the lemon zest. Melt the knob of butter in a pan and fry the almonds in it for 1 minute.
- Stir the remaining chermoula into the lamb and adjust the seasoning to taste. Arrange the quinces over the top, scatter with the almonds, then serve with the buttered couscous.
Debbie says: “Moroccan stews, or tagines, are meant to be light and soupy, not thick and rich, so don’t let the liquid reduce too much.”
Prepare the tagine up to 48 hours in advance and keep covered in the fridge.
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