Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dinner date - from Morocco to my house

When Lewi was in Morocco a few years back she bought this tagine. It has sat on display looking pretty until recently when it was deemed time for its maiden voyage. So, lamb with figs and sesame seeds was on the menu, served with couscous with roast pumpkin, raisins and almonds. This was a yummy, satisfying winter meal - it was subtly spiced, and I'm told it tasted just like the tagines in Morocco. The recipe comes from Julie Le Clerc and John Bougen's book 'Made in Morocco'.

ahmed's tagine of lamb with figs and sesame seeds
1kg lamb shoulder steaks cut into 5cm pieces (we used lamb shanks)
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
2 teaspoons simple Moroccan spice blend*
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon each ground ginger and paprika
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Place lamb in the base of a large tagine with onions and brown over a medium heat for 5-10 mins. Add remaining ingredients to the pan, except sesame seeds. Cover pan and bring the liquid to the boil, then turn down the heat to simmer for 1-1/2 hours, turning the lamb once or twice, until lamb is tender and the liquid is much reduced. The cooking can alternatively be done in an oven heated to 180C. Adjust seasoning of sauce with salt and pepper to taste and skim any excess fat from the surface. Spoon caramelised figs over finished tagine and sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.
Caramelised fig topping
2 cup dried figs
2 cups cold water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

While the tagine is cooking. simmer figs in water until softened, then add sugar and cinnamon and continue simmering until liquid is reduced and figs are caramelised.

*Moroccan spice blend: combine 2 teaspoons each ground cumin, coriander, paprika, ginger and cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each ground white pepper and turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon each chili powder and ground nutmeg.

couscous with roast pumpkin, raisins and almonds
1/2 large pumpkin
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1-1/2 cups chicken or vege stock
1-1/2 cups instant couscous
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander

Preheat oven to 200C. Cut pumpkin into 2cm cubes and place in an oven pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for 30 minutes until pumpkin is tender and golden brown.

Meanwhile heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan and cook onion and garlic over a moderate heat for 5-10 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add stock and bring to the boil. Stir in couscous, then remove pan from heat, cover and leave to steam for 10 minutes to soften. Remove covering and fluff up couscous with a fork. Season well with salt and pepper to taste. Combine couscous with raisins, toasted almonds, coriander and hot pumpkin and toss well to serve.

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