Moroccan lamb tagine with pomegranate couscous

A tagine is a unique type of ceramic or clay cookware that is popular in Moroccan cooking. The bottom is a wide, circular  dish used for both cooking and serving, while the top is shaped into a distinctive cone. The slow-cooked stew that is commonly cooked inside is also called a tagine.

To make this aromatic dish, you don't even need a tagine - it can be done in an ovenproof dish. But if you'd like to buy one they are readily available at markets and major department stores. Or why not head to Morocco and get one for yourself?

In Morocco, pomegranates are a beloved fruit because they are mentioned in the Quran as being one of the fruits of paradise. Studies have even linked pomegranate consumption to reduced blood pressure and bad cholesterol.  

It can be hard to know when the fruit is ripe to eat - the color, the amount of give when pressed with your thumb and even the smell all come into play. So choose carefully, then enjoy this aromatic Moroccan tagine.

For the lamb tagine
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 4 onions, peeled and chopped
• 4 tsp grated, fresh ginger
• 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
• 3 tsp ground cinnamon
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3kg shoulder of lamb, boned, fat removed and cut into 4cm cubes
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
• 2kg ripe tomatoes (or 4 X 400g tin) coarsely chopped
• 4-5 tbsp honey

For the couscous
• 1 large or 2 small pomegranates
• 800g couscous
• 6 tbsp olive oil
• 2 lemons, juice only
• 1 litre boiling chicken stock or water
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 tbsp chopped, fresh mint or coriander

Preparation method
• Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
• For the lamb tagine, heat a large ovenproof casserole or heavy saucepan on a medium to high heat
• Add the olive oil, garlic, onions, ginger and spices and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then cook, covered, on a low heat for about ten minutes, until the onions are soft
• Add the lamb, tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and honey into the saucepan, stir throughly
• Bring to the simmer and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, until the lamb is tender
• Remove the lid of the saucepan halfway through the cooking time to let the liquid reduce and thicken
• If the sauce is still a bit thin, put the saucepan on the hob on a medium heat and without the lid. Stir occasionally and let the liquid reduce until a thick sauce begins to appear
• Meanwhile, for the couscous, cut the pomegranates in half and scoop out the seeds using a teaspoon and remove the white membrane around the seeds
• Place the couscous in a bowl and mix in the olive oil and lemon juice
• Pour the boiling stock or water onto the couscous and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Allow the couscous to sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed
• Stir the chopped herbs and pomegranate seeds into the couscous
• To serve, place the tagine on serving plates with couscous and a wedge of lime. Serve alongside a bowl of thick Greek yoghurt

Will you try this dish at home? Let us know the outcome in the comments section below. If you'd like to share your own stories and images from Morocco, head to Twitter and Facebook.

If you're ready to start planning your Moroccan adventure, why not check out all our trips to find one that suits you, then request a brochure for more information.

(Source: www.bbc.co.uk)

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