Moroccan lamb tagine with lemon and pomegranate couscous

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We bought a gorgeous Le Creuset heart-shaped casserole dish with some vouchers that we were kindly given for our wedding, and I decided to try out a new recipe for its first outing. I found this Rachel Allen recipe on the BBC food website, which is originally meant to serve 12-14 people and would be brilliant for a dinner party! I halved the original quantities because this was for me and Tom, plus a few boxes for the freezer – I’ve given the original quantities here. Although it takes 1 1/2 hours in the oven, it can be made in advance and then reheated.

Ingredients

For the lamb tagine
4 tbsp olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 onions, peeled and chopped
4 tsp grated, fresh ginger
1½ tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
3 tsp ground cinnamon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3kg/7lb shoulder of lamb, boned, fat removed and cut into 4cm/1½in cubes
2 tbsp tomato purée
2kg/4½lb ripe tomatoes or 4 X 400g/14oz can tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4-5 tbsp honey

For the couscous
1 large or 2 small pomegranates
800g/1¾lb couscous
6 tbsp olive oil
2 lemons, juice only
1 litre/1¾ pints boiling chicken stock or water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped, fresh mint or coriander

To serve
1 lime, cut into wedges
bowl Greek yoghurt

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 2.

2. For the lamb tagine, heat a large ovenproof casserole or heavy saucepan on a medium to high heat.

3. Add the olive oil, garlic, onions, ginger and spices and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then cook, covered, on a low heat for about ten minutes, until the onions are soft.

4. Add the lamb, tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and honey into the saucepan, stir throughly. Bring to the simmer and place in the oven for 1½ hours, until the lamb is tender.

5. Remove the lid of the saucepan halfway through the cooking time to let the liquid reduce and thicken.

6. If the sauce is still a bit thin, put the saucepan on the hob on a medium heat and without the lid. Stir occasionally and let the liquid reduce until a thick sauce begins to appear.

7. Meanwhile, for the couscous, cut the pomegranates in half and scoop out the seeds using a teaspoon and remove the white membrane around the seeds (or, like me, you can buy the pre-prepared stuff from the supermarket which is much less hassle!).

8. Place the couscous in a bowl and mix in the olive oil and lemon juice. Pour the boiling stock or water onto the couscous and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

9. Allow the couscous to sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir the chopped herbs and pomegranate seeds into the couscous.

10. To serve, place the tagine on serving plates with couscous and a wedge of lime. Serve alongside a bowl of thick Greek yoghurt. Enjoy!

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