A recipe from Stephen Markwick
This started life as an Elizabeth David recipe but has become more of a tagine over the years. Stephen likes the addition of turmeric and cardamom and the apricots give it a nice fruity note. You could leave out the chickpeas but they make it stretch further. A very popular dish and one well suited to making ahead as it reheats well.
- 110g dried chickpeas, soaked or 2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 kg boned shoulder of lamb
- 1 tbsp each of coriander seeds, cumin seed and cardamom pods ground roughly in a grinder or with a pestle and mortar
- 2 good size aubergines
- 2 onions, peeled and sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 3-4 tbsp each sunflower and olive oil
- 75g (about 12) dried apricots
- A pinch of saffron
- 250ml white wine
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp tomato pureé
- 1 x 400g tin whole or chopped tomatoes
- 400ml lamb or chicken stock
- 2-3 tbsp each chopped mint and fresh coriander
- A good squeeze of lemon juice.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If using dried chickpeas soak them overnight then bring them to the boil in fresh water, skim and cook for ab out 1-1¼ hours until just tender
- Cut up the lamb, trim off any excess fat and season it with the whole ground spices and salt and pepper.
- Cut the aubergine into fairly large cubes and sprinkle with salt. Tip the cubes into a colander under a weighted plate and set aside. After 20-30 minutes rinse the aubergine cubes and pat dry.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a casserole, add the slice onions, garlic and turmeric and cook over a moderate hear until soft.
- In a separate frying pan, brown the meat in another couple of tablespoons of oil.
- Once the meat is browned add it to the casserole then tip the aubergines in the frying pan, add a little more oil and fry until they have taken on some colour.
- Return the aubergines to the colander to drain off any excess oil and set aside to add later.
- Cover the apricots and saffron with 100ml of the white wine or with water, heat gently and keep on one side.
- Add the tomato pureé and chopped tomatoes to the meat and onions.
- Deglaze the frying pan with the remaining white wine and stock.
- Add to the casserole and bring it to a simmering point. Check the seasoning, then put a lid on the pan and cook in a slow oven (150°C, Gas Mk2) for approx. 60 minutes or until the lamb is just done.
- Add the cubed aubergine, soaked apricots, chickpeas, herbs and lemon juice and check the seasoning again. Either return to the oven for another 10 minutes or leave on a very low heat to let the flavours mingle.
Serve with couscous or rice flavoured with a little saffron, and some Greek yoghurt mixed with garlic and mint.