This fragrant, slow-cooked lamb dish is the perfect family and entertaining dish. The recipe takes inspiration from the Middle East with Ras el hanout and harissa spicing. The addition of sweet apricots and Medjool dates makes this dish feel like a real feast.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
600g diced lamb
2 tablespoons Ras el hanout
1 heaped teaspoon harissa paste
2 tablespoons oil, for frying
1 large red onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 courgette, diced
100g dried apricots
4 Medjool dates, stones removed
For the Aubergines
1 large aubergine
3 baby aubergines
1 teaspoon harissa paste
1 tablespoon maple syrup
50g pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
Handful pomegranate seeds
Small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
- Place the diced lamb in the Signature Cast Iron 30cm Shallow Casserole and marinate with 1 tablespoon of Ras el hanout and the harissa paste. Cover with the lid and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170˚C/ Fan 150˚C/ Gas Mark 3.
- Remove the meat from the fridge and transfer the meat to the lid of the casserole upturned. Wash the base of the casserole, then place it over a medium heat and warm the oil. In batches, brown the lamb and set aside in a bowl. Deglaze the pan with a little water, scrapping off all the bits (these will add great flavour) and pour the juices over the meat.
- Add the second tablespoon of oil, then add the onion. Fry for 4-5 minutes until the onions have softened before adding the garlic with a pinch of salt. Fry for a further 1 minute.
- Add the second tablespoon of Ras el hanout to the pan coating the onion and garlic then add the courgette. Pour in the tomatoes and then fill the empty tomato can with water and also add to the pan. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
- Roughly chop the apricots and dates and add to the pan. When simmering, place on the lid and then place into the oven for 1 hour 20 min, stirring occasionally.
- In the meantime, prepare your aubergines. Slice the large aubergine into 4 longways. Gently score the aubergine slices in a criss-cross pattern being careful not to run the knife all the way through. Slice the mini aubergines in half and score similarly. Place all the aubergines in a large dish scored-side up.
- Combine the harissa paste and maple syrup in a bowl with a good pinch of salt. Coat the aubergines in the marinade ensuring it gets in all the groves. Cover and allow to marinate until required.
- After 1 hour 20 min take the casserole out of the oven and remove the lid. Give the casserole a good stir before laying the marinated aubergine in a flower shape. Use the large aubergine on the bottom and finish with the mini aubergines on top. Return to the oven and cook for a further 30-40 minutes or until the aubergine has cooked and the tagine sauce has thickened.
- To finish, sprinkle the tagine with the roughly chopped pistachios, pomegranate seeds and fresh coriander. Serve to the table in the casserole.
- When adding garlic to a pan to fry, always add a pinch of salt – this helps the onions to release a little moisture which prevents the garlic from burning. Just ensure you take your early salt addition into consideration when you season later.
- If you don’t like fruit in savoury dishes, try adding sweet peppers instead. This will perk up your tagine without the addition of fruit.