Winter has arrived fairly dramatically in Sydney in this first week of June. Time to get some slow cooking on the go! Lamb is always great in a casserole and lamb shoulder makes a great tagine with lots of Middle Eastern flavours. The shoulder needs to be boned and diced – try to get your butcher to do that for you. Less labour intensive than doing it yourself.
The tagine itself is the star – just serve it with couscous or rice or homemade flatbread to soak up the juice.
I make my tagine in a heavy based casserole. You could do this and serve in a tagine if you like.
2 teaspoons paprika – sweet or smoked
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and rind of a mandarin or orange
1 kg diced lamb shoulder
1 clove of garlic
1 x 425g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 x tins of water (use the chopped tomatoes tin for this)
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
125g dried apricots
125g pitted prunes
Combine spices and pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil, rind and juice of the mandarin/orange and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well coated in the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
Heat a heavy based casserole on the stovetop, and add half the olive oil. Tip in the lamb and cook over a fairly high heat until evenly browned, then tip onto a plate.
Add the remaining olive oil to the casserole and stir in the the eshallots, and then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for a further couple of minutes or until the garlic is softened but not browned.
Return the browned meat to the casserole. Add the chopped tomatoes, tins of water and stir well. Add the pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on and transfer to the oven.
Cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried apricots and prunes, roughly chopped. Cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.
If you’re not completely satisfied with the tenderness of the lamb you can cook for a further 15 minutes.
Serve with the aforementioned couscous, rice or flatbread. A spoonful of yoghurt is nice too, and some chopped coriander.