Recipe for 2:
365 g lamb neck
1 medium-large sweet potato
12 sun-dry (soft) apricots (replace with figs or dates, or preserved lemons to vary the taste)
2 tbsp pomegranate molasse
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 litre lamb stock
1 tsp corn flour (or arrowroot)
1/3 bunch fresh coriander
salt and pepper
Moroccan Spice Mix:
4 cardamom pods
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp turmeric (ground)
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cinnamon (ground)
1 tsp paprika (ground)
1/2 tsp ginger (ground)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of chilli powder (or as much as you want for spicy hot)
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 - "Clean" the Meat
Remove all tendons, skin, or any thick white layers, as shown below
2 - Prepare Spice Mix
Add all ingredients in mortar and crush until obtaining a crumbly paste texture, and all seeds are broken.
3 - Prepare Meat
Cut 1-1.5 inch thick slices.
- The larger the pieces the longer it will take longer to cook, the more chances to have long fibres of meat to chew.
- The smaller the cuts, the more chances to have pieces of meat breaking apart during cooking, looking like pulled meat.
So cut meat into same size pieces for even cooking.
Place meat cubes in a bowl with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of crushed spices mix. Mix well and set aside to rest for 20 minutes to 2 hours. I also added 1 tablespoon of my homemade garlic and Mediterranean herbs infused olive oil to accentuate the flavours and keep the meat moist (plain ollive oil or sesame oil is fine too).
Set frying pan on high heat, and without adding any oil/fat, fry pieces of lamb, placing them one by one in the pan (do not pour straight from the bowl - this will prevent the meat from browning and will subsequently boil, and be fibrous/tough when eating).
Fry each side for 2-3 minutes, until all sides are brown.
Remove meat from pan, and reduce heat to very low. Decante meat pieces in the sieve over a bowl to let meat drip of all juice and remain dry.
Add remaining spices mix and toast gently. It should not get dark, but golden brown (If spices start burning, take immediately off the heat and into a bowl and let to cool, once pan is not as hot, start process again). Chopped onion in paysanne and add to spices. Place a lid and let to onions to melt for 10 minutes.
Pre-heat oven 200˚c.
Take lid off, stir and set heat on high again, add meat pieces and toss gently in the pan to coat each cube with spices. Reduce heat again. Add Tomato Paste, stir, and then Add pomegranate molasses and honey, and caramelise gently the meat as shown below. Make sure they spice coating does not burn. Once nicely caramelised as shown in picture below, pour hot lamb stock over. Dilute corn flour (or arrowroot) in a bit of cold water, pour over the stock, and stir gently until fully incorporated.
Stir well and pour all in tajine Dish. Place in oven with lid and reduce heat to 180˚c.
Let to cook for 1h30 to 2 hours, checking liquid level every half hour also, and topping up if necessary.
This is what it should look like when it comes out of the oven (see picture below). Add some chopped coriander for colour and flavour right before serving. I would also recommend leaving the dish to rest with lid on for 15 to 20 minutes before serving; this will allow the meat and juices to rest and be full to flavours!
Sprinkle with freshly chopped Coriander right before serving.
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Olivier is a Michelin trained chef, a registered Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.