Lamb tagine with apricot and almond cous cous

Melt-in-your-mouth lamb and warming Moroccan spices – a tagine recipe that is the perfect recipe for a cold winter's night.It was also the perfect heartwarming welcome for our golfing guests from the UK. The tagine is the Moroccan matriarch of slow cooking,its distinct conical shape shape ensuring that your meat is packed with flavour and mouth-wateringly tender.My butcher prepared boned shoulder for me and when I came to collect it I was proffered two bags.One with the trimmed meat, the other a bag of bones.Not only had I the wherewithal for my tagine, but also the resources for making a bone broth(recipe below).Can´t get much more "nose-to-tail" than that? 
Moroccan lamb tagine
Serves 6

I originally had this tagine cooked for me by my friend Sue, a few years ago.She gave me the recipe and I have made it a couple of times since but have never been able to match that spectacular first time taste.I asked her this time what her secret was and she said double the quantity of all the spices etc.I did and finally matched that taste sensation.It was a triumph.Thank you Sue.I have already doubled the ingredients in the recipe below so if you are making it just follow the recipe.
6 tbsp sunflower oil
2 kg boneless lamb shoulder ( ask your butcher for the trimmed bones)
cut into bite size pieces

2 large onions
6 cloves garlic
Sprinkling Flor de sal
2 tablespoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Ground black pepper
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soya sauce
6 tbsp marsala wine
6 tbsp red lentils
Put 3 tablespoons of the oil into a very large,wide,heavy bottomed casserole or pan, and warm over a medium heat.Brown the pieces of lamb,in batches, in the pan and then remove to a large tagine.
Peel the onions and garlic and process in a food processor.Add the remaining oil to the pan,and fry the onion garlic mush until soft,sprinkling with Flor de sal to prevent it catching.
Stir in the turmeric,ground ginger,chilli flakes,cinnamon and nutmeg,and season with some freshly ground black pepper.stir again adding the honey soya sauce and Marsala.Add this mixture to the lamb in the tagine and add cold water almost to cover,bring to the boil on the stove top and the put the cover on the tagine,Place in the centre of the oven on alow heat and cook very gently for an hour and a half or until the meat is tender.Stir in the red lentils and continue cooking slowly without the lid until the lentils have softened into the sauce and the juices have reduced and thickened slightly.Check the seasoning,sprinkle with some coriander leaves.return the lid to the tagine and bring to the table serve with the cous cous.

Apricot and almond cous cous
Heaped tsp Ras al hanout 
1 small red onion, diced small
Extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of small lemon 
1/4 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup whole almonds toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup shelled pistachios,coarsely chopped
140g couscous
1 cup chicken stock, warm
Flor de sal and freshly ground black pepper

Place the Ras al hanout and diced onion in a small pan and dry fry until the spice emits a fragrance.Remove from the heat.Stir in some olive oil and the lemon juice followed by the cous cous.Pour over the warm stock and put a lid on the pan.After a few minutes fluff up the cous cous with a fork.Transfer to a shallow serving dish and stir in the apricots almonds and pistachios.Serve.

Bone broth is no longer a secret weapon.Easy, frugal and full of flavour, It is the ideal base for all soups and stews, adding flavour by the jug load. It is one of the oldest, most affordable homemade foods, often used as an elixir to cure ailments and nurture invalids. A good, homemade bone broth is rich in easily digestible substances such as amino acids, gelatine (a source of protein that helps counter the degeneration of joints), glucosamine, fats, vitamins, minerals and collagen (which improves the condition of skin). Eat your heart out L´Oréal. Prepare it at the weekend and keep it in the fridge or freezer so it’s on call throughout the week.In order to achieve the optimum bone broth roast your bones first.
Repeat after me: "I will always roast my bones." This browns and caramelizes them, and we all know what browned and caramelized means: Better flavour. Don't be afraid to really take the bones to the limit.Crank your oven up high—a bold 220 C.Making stock is one of the core skills of any good cook, and this Lamb Stock recipe by Gordon Ramsay is simple, delicious and provides a solid foundation for lots of other great recipes.

Bare bones Friday-Monday nights supper
A fine bone broth matures
Gordon Ramsay Lamb Stock
Makes 8-10 cups

1 lb lamb bones
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp tomato paste
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme and flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spread the bones out on a large roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil to coat. Roast for about 45-60 minutes, turning the bones over halfway, until evenly browned.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot and add the vegetables and garlic, stirring occasionally over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add the tomato paste and fry for another 3 minutes. Add the wine and let boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the bones to the stock pot and pour in enough water to cover, about 4-6 cups. Bring to a simmer and skim off the froth and scum that rises to the surface.

Add the peppercorn and herbs. Simmer the stock for 4-6 hours or until you're happy with the flavour, then take the pan off the heat. Let stand for a few minutes before passing the stock through a fine sieve. Cool the stock to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. The fat from the stock will rise and congeal at the surface and can then be removed with a spoon and discarded. Fresh stock should be used within 5 days or keep frozen for up to 3 months.


  1. looks Yummy, Mo

  2. Sounds scrumptious. Got to give that recipe a go. Thank you! Julie


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