So…let’s get this out of the way – yes we’re using Lambs Hearts. No – you don’t have to. Offal is always a bit controversial, and I won’t spend the entire post explaining why you shouldn’t be squeamish. What we will say is that heart meat is the leanest of lean; more meaty than meat (it IS pretty much pure muscle), and it tastes like any other. You’re missing out. But no – you could happily make this meal with just lamb leg – we were going to, but my supermarket was out of stock.
Now let’s talk Tagine. Whilst the name of the meal, it is also the name of the pot it’s cooked in. The conical lid does the rather fantastic job of looking after the steam and condensation. However, you can use a normal casserole dish or a slow cooker for this – the difference isn’t huge enough to warrant buying a tagine unless you expect regular use.
Timings: 1.5-3 hours (I’ll explain in the method)
About a pound or half a kilo of meat is a decent starting point. The meat: squash ratio should be around 2:1, and 3:1 apricots. The spice amounts are based on these quantities. Bump up these amounts if you prefer a chunkier stew.
- Lamb (Leg or Heart)
- Squash or Sweet Potato
- Dried Apricots
- Tinned Tomatoes
- 2 Tsp Ras El Hanout (Your supermarket has this, just ask them to show you where)
- 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Preheat the oven. We suggest a low temperature for a long time – 140C or so, especially if you’re using Heart. However, you can go as high as 200C to be done far quicker. If you go for the quicker option, be sure to par-boil your vegetables first.
- Chop and fry the onions and garlic in a separate frying pan until brown and aromatic. Add the spices and a sprinkling of sugar. Fry for a few more minutes.
- Add your lamb and fry until sealed – just a minute or so. You can dice your meat, cut it in steaks or if using a heart you could keep them whole.
- Pour in the tinned tomatoes and fry, stirring, for a few more minutes.
- Transfer this mix into the tagine and add the apricots and stock. You want to just cover all the chunks to ensure the vegetables cook well.
- Bake in the oven until the meat is cooked and the sauce consistency to your liking. Add a splash of If need be add a cornflour-water mix to thicken it up for quickly. Season and serve.
Serving and Storage
We recommend serving with cous-cous, although rice would do. To make it extra special, mix a little mint sauce with yoghurt then put a dollop on top of the tagine. The cool yoghurt will offset the hot, slightly spicy casserole beautifully. If serving a dinner party, just put the tagine in the centre of the table and let people dish their own up.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make the cous-cous/rice fresh each time.
Got any thoughts on offal? Let us know in the comments below.