Spicy lamb and couscous tagine

Lamb and Mutton SA
4 servings Prep: 20 mins, Cooking: 2 hrs 30 mins
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A spicy dish of lamb knuckles, dried fruit, couscous, garnished with preserved lemon and fresh herbs and prepared in a tagine or earthenware pot. Brought to you by Lamb & Mutton SA.

By Independent Contributor May 27 2022
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Ingredients (24)

2 tsp salt
600 g lamb knuckles
100 g dried apricots — halved and soaked in 250 ml stock
500 ml lamb stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion — diced
2 celery stalks — diced
1 large carrot — diced
2 pieces fresh ginger — peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
200 g dates — pitted and roughly chopped
2 tbsp pistachios — dry fried
1 cup couscous
250 ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
fresh coriander — to garnish
preserved lemon — to garnish
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Season the meat with salt and leave aside at room temperature whilst preparing the other ingredients.

Soak the dried apricots in the hot stock and leave for about 15 minutes to soften. Remove from the stock and chop roughly. Keep the stock to add to the pan later.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Heat the oil over medium heat in a shallow, heavy-based pan, or tagine, with a tight-fitting lid. Add the seasoned lamb knuckles in batches to the pot, brown, leaving enough room around each piece to allow them to brown on all sides. Transfer the lamb to a plate as it browns.

Sauté the onion, celery, and carrots in the same pan until soft and golden, approximately 4-5 minutes.

Stir in the fresh ginger, tomato paste, ground ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, and turmeric. Add the stock and scrape off the bottom to loosen any crispy bits of meat and vegetables.

Add the browned lamb, bring the mixture to a simmer, and cover tightly. Place in the oven and cook until the meat is very tender about 2 hours.

Once the meat is tender, remove from the oven, add the pitted, chopped dates and chopped apricots to the pan.  Simmer over low heat, uncovered for about 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Prepare the couscous by pouring the hot vegetable stock over the couscous in a separate bowl. Mix and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter and fluff the mixture lightly with a fork. Serve couscous on the side or stir into the lamb.

Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Garnish with preserved lemon and fresh coriander.

Serve warm or hot with red onion and pomegranate salsa and flatbreads.

Supported by the Red Meat Industry of SA – Recipes and styling by Gerrie du Rand and photos by Michelle Parkin.

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