The classic spices used in this dish bring out wonderful Moroccan flavours – you’ll notice I didn’t use the traditional cookware but it worked very well in a Le Creuset (you just need a dish that can go on the hob and in the oven). Don’t worry about getting the best cut of lamb, the whole thing ends up cooking for so long that even cheaper cuts will go tender. I made this two days in advance of a dinner party and all I needed to do on the day was cook the cous cous – stress free!
750g – 1kg lamb (leg or neck meat works well)
6 plum tomatoes
1 butternut squash
100g soft dried apricots
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp harissa
500ml lamb stock
3 tbsp olive oil
500g cous cous
Salt and pepper
1. Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan (oven proof as well) and brown the lamb in batches. Set aside. Meanwhile, add 300ml of boiling water to a bowl and soak the apricots.
2. Chop the onion finely and thinly slice the garlic. Add the remaining oil to the pan and soften the onion and the garlic, stirring frequently. Add the spices and mix well.
3. Return the lamb to the pan and cook for around 5 minutes.
4. Chop the apricots into smaller pieces and add, with the water, to the pan. In a bowl, pour boiling water over the tomatoes – you should be able to peel them quite easily and the skin should just come off. Chop the peeled tomatoes and add to the pan. Pour in the lamb stock and the honey.
5. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas mark 4. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and cook in the oven for an hour.
6. Peel and chop the butternut squash, and chop the courgette into large chunks. After an hour, add the courgette. squash and harissa, season with salt and pepper, and return to the over for another hour.
7. When you are going to eat the tagine, cook the cous cous according to the packet’s instructions (I use chicken stock rather than just water for extra flavour), and mix in the chopped parsley.