Lamb tagine with harissa, couscous and chickpea salad recipe
A creation that takes you on a trip through northern Africa and the Middle East.
Hi again and welcome back to another creation, this might be the most complex one I have done so far but I really wanted to challenge myself. This dish is meant to be served for more than one person as it is quite complex and takes a lot of time to prepare. I wanted to create something that takes you on a journey through northern Africa and the middle east, with a lot of flavors and colors. I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for more experiments!
Modern Tagine made by LeCruset
The Tagine is a staple of the Moroccan cuisine and put to use in this dish. I would prefer it to any other pot but it can also be replaced by any other casserole. The dish is recommended for more than one person as many ingredients are needed. It can be easily made Halal if you wish so, I usually recommend for lamb that you visit a Muslim butcher anyways as their quality is much better. Lamb is just much more common in Turkish, Middle-eastern and north African cuisine than it is in western cuisine. More customers looking for lamb means better sourcing and better ties to farmers and traders delivering the highest quality. I created this dish through my experience with the ingredients and did not follow a traditional recipe. Ingredients for 4 People.
1. Lamb casserole: 600g Lamb from the shoulder, 2 fresh figs, 1 small Onion, pickled salty lemon (1) or kumquats (4), 50g pine nuts, 1 clove of Garlic, 3 teaspoon of sweet pepper powder, 2 teaspoon Cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, a couple edible rose petals, a couple of black olives, 150ml of water, sesame oil.
2. Chickpea salad: 1 Can of boiled chickpeas, 100g sheep milk cheese, 1 red onion, lemon juice from two lemons, 1 teaspoon of cumin, fresh coriander leaves. Olive oil.
3. Harissa: 1 red bell-pepper, 1 clove of garlic, 1 small shallot, 50g Chili flakes, 50g of almond flakes, 1 teaspoon of Cumin, 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, a bit of rosewater and olive oil.
4. Couscous: Couscous, Butter.
Preparation: Lamb casserole
Before you put the lamb in the Tajine I would recommend to season it. For that make a rub from salt, and the powdered spices listed in the ingredient list. Mix them well together and rub them with sesame oil into the meat.
Then add sesame oil to the tagine, wait half a minute and add the meat to the tagine, fry the meat for a short amount of time so that it gets a light crust. You are not supposed to fully cook it at this stage, it is meant to be still raw on the inside. Turn down the temperature to medium heat and let is sizzle for a minute. Don't put the lid on during this first step, and don't remove anything from the tagine we want to retain all the flavor.
Wash the figs and cut them in quarters, add them to the tagine. Also add one crushed clove of garlic, and onion rings. If you can't find a small onion only use half of it. The flavor from the onion is really not meant to be overpowering. Then add the edible rose petals, some black olives and the pine nuts.
Pickled salty lemons or kumquats:
Pickled salty kumquats
These salty pickled lemons are essential for tagine dishes and a traditional ingredient of the Moroccan cuisine. You can find them in Arabic supermarkets in jars. You can also make them yourself with organic untreated lemons. But I recommend if you use them for the first time, just to buy pre-made ones. In my case I used self-made pickled kumquats which are a little bit more special but lemons do the job just as well. They taste not as you would expect, more bitter and less sour. The amount you add to the dish is really depending on how familiar you are with them. If you know what you are doing add as many as you want, but for newbies I would recommend not to use more than one full lemon as they give light bitter taste to the whole dish.
So figure out how much of these salty lemons you want in the dish, then cut them into slices and lay them on top of the rest in the pot. Then add the 150ml of water to the tagine and let it braise on low to medium heat with the lid closed for over an hour. The meat is supposed to become very soft and tender, and the juices from the ingredients should have formed a nice stew.
Preparation: Chickpea salad
Use a colander to remove the chickpeas from the can, put them into a mixing bowl and add one tablespoon of cumin. Then cut the Red onion into thick onion rings and add them to the bowl. Cut the sheep-milk cheese into dice-sized pieces and add them to the bowl. Then pour in the juice from two lemons and add some fresh coriander leaves.
Mix everything well with some olive oil, and its done.
For the Harissa grab a small pan that you can use to roast some of the spices.
First cut the white parts and the stem away from the bell-pepper. Cut it into pieces large enough to fit into the food processor. Crush the garlic and cut the shallot then add them to the food processor. Without oil add the chili flakes and the almond flakes to the pan and roast them a little bit, make sure they are not burned. Then add the roasted almonds and chili flakes to the food processor. Also add one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of coriander powder, a bit of rosewater and olive oil.
Mix it in the food processor until it becomes a grainy paste. Done.
The couscous can be easily made in a rice cooker or in a pot. It usually doesnt really need to cook but its best to follow the instructions on the products packaging. When it is done add a little bit of butter on top and let it melt. Then stir it a little bit. Done.
The final plate:
I hope you like my creation and stay tuned for the next one!