Lamb Tagine with Dates
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 80 ml (¹⁄³ cup) olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon extra
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) boneless lamb shoulder, cubed
- 410 ml (1²⁄³ cups) water or beef stock (broth)
- 1 tablespoon coconut or raw sugar
- pinch of saffron threads
- sea salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 150 g (5½ oz) medjool (fresh) dates, pitted and halved
- ½ preserved lemon
- 40 g (½ cup) flaked or slivered almonds coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish couscous, to serve
1) In a large heavy-based deep frying pan or heavy-based flameproof casserole dish over medium heat, sauté the onion in the oil for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger, cinnamon, cumin and pepper and stir for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Increase the heat to high, add the lamb and, tossing from time to time, brown on all sides.
2) Add the water (or stock), sugar, saffron and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking.
3) Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the dates on top, cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the dates are plump.
4) Meanwhile, rinse the preserved lemon under cold water, remove and discard the membrane and pulp, then cut into thin strips and add to the lamb. Mix gently and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the lamb is fork-tender.
5) Heat the extra olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and add the almonds. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until golden, then immediately tip onto a plate to prevent burning.
6) Serve the lamb tagine on a bed of couscous, sprinkled with the almonds and coriander.
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