A slow cooked lamb or goat tagine is the staple of Moroccan cuisine. Dishes like this are prepared in outdoor ovens under the Sahara sky. While we cant replicate the amazing atmosphere of the Sahara, you can buy simple tagines in Australia which work well in a conventional oven or stove top. If you don’t have access to a tagine the slow cooker will also work. This dish is inspired from Shane Delia’s new cook book – Spice Journey: Adventures in Middle Eastern cooking. The Harissa spice mix complements the robust flavours of lamb, eggplant and tomato and sweetened with the medjool dates . The art of good middle eastern cooking is the delicate combination of sweet and savoury flavours in the dishes they prepare. The gremolata topping with ginger and lemon brightens the wonderful flavours of this dish and is definitely worth the extra effort.
Spices used in this recipe
Saffron Threads (Whole)
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice by weight. The saffron threads are the whole stigmas from the purple-flowered crocus. Its golden color can be imitated by cheaper spices such as safflower and turmeric. Saffron’s rich and delicate flavor is unable to be imitated. Saffron is widely used to color and flavor dishes in a variety of cuisines, including saffron rice, biryani, paella, risottos, and bouillabaisse.$7.50
North African Harissa – Hot
Tunisian Harissa is an integral ingredient in North African cuisine. It has an orangey-red and vibrant colour and scent. It is made from chillies, garlic, and various other spices and is characterized by its grainy consistency and tangy, slightly smokey flavour. It is often used as a paste or condiment by mixing a little olive oil and a dash of lemon juice.
Lamb Tagine :
Rub Tunisian Harissa spice mix into the lamb pieces.
Heat oil in a deep dish frying pan, add the lamb and brown well on all sides. Remove the lamb and add the onion, and garlic and saute until transclucent.
Add the saffron threads to a 1/2 cup of hot water and let the color permeate for 5 minutes while you prepare the ingredients for the tagine.
Transfer the onion and garlic mixture to the tagine dish.
Place a layer of potato on top, then arrange the lamb in a single layer .
sprinkle evenly the diced tomato and nestle in the eggplant and dates evenly between the lamb pieces.
Poor the saffron water into the tagine seal with the lid. Make sure the lid can close completely and place in a moderate oven 165 degress for 1.5hours.
Heat the olive oil and butter in the frying pan, add the chunks of bread and saute till golden in color. Remove from the heat, add the walnuts, dates, ginger, parsley and ,lemon zest and stir on a moderate heat for 5 min. Add the bread back in the mix and remove form the heat.
Combine the tunisian harissa spice mix with olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve the dish with a generous amount of gremolata and drizzle the harissa paste on top .