Eight Bells

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Moroccan lamb with fennel and dates

I can't write this blog today without sending out our best wishes to the firefighters hurt in yesterdays blaze in Hamilton and to their families. Our deepest sympathies go out to the the Lovell family for their tragic loss and our thoughts are with the families of those others that were injured.

This new toy arrived by courier on Friday courtesy of Julia's in-laws (thanks mum and dad). We have been looking at the Le Creuset tagine for some time but as we have had no experience of using tagines we had relegated them to the interesting but non essential list of cooking utensils. After having cooked just one meal in it I can safely say that it is a piece of equipment we will use often. After two hours slow cooking in the tagine the lamb almost melts in your mouth and while I know that there won't be many of you that own a tagine this recipe can be made in a normal casserole. You need to start cooking this about three hours before you want to eat it. Serves four.

2 tablespoons of oil (we are using rice bran oil for almost everything these days. It has a very high smoke point and adds almost no flavour)
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
800g of lamb, cut into thick chunks (we bought lamb leg steaks)
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of ground corriander
1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1 cup of chopped dates
2 cups of water
Fresh coriander to garnish

Heat a tablespoon of oil in the tagine base over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and cook until almost starting to turn brown. Remove from the tagine and set aside.
Add the rest of the oil and fry the lamb pieces until they are evenly browned.
Add all the spices and the salt to the tagine and stir into the lamb. Cook for a further minute or two.
Add the onion, fennel, garlic, dates and 1 cup of water. Stir well.
Cover and cook very slowly for 2-2 1/2 hours. Stir and add a little water occasionally as the dish thickens.

We use Tipiak brand plain couscous and just follow the instructions on the packet. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of chicken stock powder to the water.


At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Liz said...

Why do you favour rice bran oil?

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use rice oil for everything. I like it because it is healty and has a high smoke point.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Julian said...

ditto that comment rice bran oil it has a very high smoke point and low flavour.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Julian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

Would you add any green vegetables to the plate with this dish Julian, whether for colour or taste and if so, what would you recommend?

I saw teh Le Creuset tagines in Living and Giving in Hamilton on the weekend and was wondering how on earth you use them so thanks for that!

At 4:10 PM, Blogger startrekker said...

What's a tagine? I'm obviously too lazy to goggle it and also I have no shame.


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