Clodagh McKenna: Savour a slow-cooked lamb tagine to keep winter’s chill at bay
This week chef Clodagh McKenna prepares a warming stew seasoned with cumin and parsley and served with spiced and jewelled couscous
A slow-cooked tagine with lots of warm spices is my idea of a perfect autumn supper. I use lamb here but you could swap it for chicken pieces, pork or add other pulses such as butter beans for a vegetarian version.
In the recipe, I say cook it for an hour, but if you have time, reduce the heat and slow-cook it for a couple of hours - the meat will get more tender and the flavours will develop more.
I made this last Friday and brought it up to our home in the country as I had friends coming to stay on Saturday night. I made a simple couscous spiced with cumin and cinnamon and added pomegranate seeds and raisins. It was so easy to pull together and we had lots of leftovers to feast on over the weekend. It really is a fantastic supper for the weekend when you have friends and family around.
Here's how to make my spiced and jewelled couscous. Pour 400g of wholegrain couscous into a bowl and stir in one teaspoon of both ground cumin and cinnamon and 100g raisins.
Then pour in 600ml of hot chicken or vegetable stock to the couscous, cover with cling film and leave to cook in the steam for 10 minutes. Then remove the cling film and separate the grains using a fork.
Stir in three tablespoons of pomegranate seeds and two tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well. So easy!
1. Place a tagine or casserole dish over a medium heat and add one tbsp of olive oil. Tip the lamb pieces into the dish and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn the heat up to high and brown the lamb. Once the lamb has browned, remove to a plate and set aside.
2. Place the casserole dish back on the heat and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the onions, garlic, sweet potatoes and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook for five minutes. Then remove the cover and stir in the ground cumin, turmeric and cinnamon stick. Stir and cook for a further three minutes to intensify the flavours.
3. Next stir in the tinned cherry tomatoes, hot stock, chickpeas, raisins and chopped almonds. Cover, turn the heat to low and cook for an
hour, longer if you can as the meat with become more tender. Serve with the spiced couscous.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Serve with: Cune Rioja Reserva
4 tbsp olive oil
800g lamb pieces, shoulder if possible
1 onion, finely diced
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
5 tsp ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick
½ tsp ground turmeric
100g almonds, chopped
1 tin of cherry tomatoes
200ml chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped