Moroccan Goat Tagine with Apricots and Almonds
Tagine is the name of the dish and also the pot in which it is cooked.
Comparatively little liquid is needed as the conical lid provides a large cool
surface on which steam condenses and then drips into the food below.
If you can't get kid shoulder it's fine to use lamb.
If you don't have a tagine, use a heavy-based casserole instead.
kid or goat shoulder 1.3kg, cut into chunks about 5cm square
garlic cloves 2, peeled
sea salt flakes ¾ tsp, plus extra for seasoning
saffron water 3 tbsp (see Cook's Note below)
ras-el hanout 2 tbsp (see Cook's Note below)
sugar 2 tsp
red onions 2, halved and thinly sliced
water 6 tbsp
hot meat or chicken stock 225ml
freshly ground pepper ¼ tsp or to taste
coriander and flat-leaf parsley 10–15 sprigs each, tied in muslin
no-soak dried apricots 225g
unsalted butter 45g
7-cm cinnamon stick
lemon juice of half
whole almonds (without skin) 4 tbsp, toasted
lemon wedges to garnish
coriander or flat-leaf parsley tough stems discarded, leaves chopped to make 4 tbsp
1) Arrange the meat in a single layer in a dish.
2) Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic with the ¾ teaspoon of sea salt. Stir in the saffron water, ras-el hanout and sugar. Coat the meat with the spice mixture, rubbing it in well. Leave to stand for 30 minutes, or in the fridge overnight.
3) Put 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the onions, two or three good pinches of salt, and the water in a flameproof tagine over medium-low heat. Cook, covered, for 20–30 minutes or until the onion is very soft and starting to colour.
4) Meanwhile, heat another 3 tablespoons of oil in a large high-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and the marinade, and fry until no longer pink. Fry in batches if necessary. Transfer to the tagine containing the onions.
5) Add 6 tablespoons of the stock, the pepper and the muslin-wrapped herbs. Cover the tagine and simmer very gently for 30 minutes, turning once.
6) While the meat mixture is simmering, combine the apricots, remaining stock, butter and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and syrupy.
7) Add the apricots and their juices to the tagine. Cover and simmer gently for another 20 minutes or until the meat is very tender. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary.
8) Tip the mixture into a sieve set over a deep bowl. Reserve the liquid, blotting off the fat with paper towel. Fish out and discard the herb bag and the cinnamon stick. Put the meat in a warm dish, cover and keep warm.
9) Pour the reserved liquid back into the tagine. Simmer over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until thickened.
10) Stir in the lemon juice and most of the chopped herbs.
11) Return the meat to the tagine. Simmer for a few minutes to warm through. Garnish with the almonds, lemon segments and the remaining herbs.
Saffron water Most Moroccan cooks have a jar of saffron water at the ready. It is a more economic way of using this expensive herb. Dry ½ tsp crushed strands in warm frying pan. Crush the strands again and put in a jar. Add 240ml hot water and leave to soak. Keep in the fridge.
Ras-el hanout This heady Moroccan mix of 20 or more spices includes the warm flavours of cinnamon, mace and nutmeg, plus zesty cardamom, coriander and allspice. Rose petals or lavender flowers are added for floral notes. Ras el hanout is easy to find in good supermarkets and delis.
Recipe © Christine McFadden 2020