For the TV series accompanying my new book, I travelled to Morocco where tagines like this are a staple dish. They may be slow to cook but they are quick to make. This is my quick version of lamb tagine as some tagines take three hours to cook. The spices used here are a classic combination for tagine recipes and give a wonderful depth of flavour. All these spices are good to keep in your store cupboard, so you always have them to hand.
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes-2 hours 10 minutes
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
750g (1lb 10oz) lamb neck fillet, sliced into 2cm-3cm (¾in–1¼in) pieces
2 large onions, sliced
3 celery sticks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4cm (1½in) knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated (see tip)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
450ml (15fl oz) chicken or lamb stock
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp harissa paste
1 tbsp runny honey
8 ready-to-eat dried apricots, quartered
2 preserved lemons, sliced into 8 pieces and any pips removed (see note)
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2.
2. Heat a deep ovenproof frying pan with a lid, or a large cast-iron casserole dish, over a high heat. Add the oil and the lamb and fry for
3-4 minutes or until the meat is golden brown all over. You may need to do this in two batches. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a plate.
3. Add the onions and celery to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften but not browned. Add the garlic and ginger, then sprinkle in the spices and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for 10 seconds, add the tomatoes, stock, tomato purée, harissa paste, honey, apricots and preserved lemons. Bring to the boil, stirring, and then return the lamb and any juices to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, stir in the chickpeas and check seasoning, then return to the oven uncovered and cook for another 30 minutes-1 hour or until the onions have softened and the meat is tender (see note).
4. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with the Nutty Wholemeal Couscous Salad or the Moroccan Summer Salad from my book.
Preserved lemons are available to buy in the specialist ingredients section of good supermarkets. They have been preserved in salt so the skin softens and can be eaten.
The cooking time depends on the size of the lamb pieces – smaller chunks may take a bit less time to cook.
Can be made up to a day ahead and reheated.
The cooked dish freezes well.
SAVE 20 PER CENT ON MARY’S NEW BOOK
Mary Berry Quick Cooking will be published by BBC Books on 21 February, price £22. As well as Mary’s introduction, the book contains more than 100 all-new recipes, plus her crucial tips for each one. Chapters include: Light Bites and Tapas; Speedy Soups; Salads and Grains; Fish; Poultry and Game; Pork, Lamb and Beef; Rice, Noodles and Pasta; Quick Veg; Puddings, and Baking. To order a copy for £17.60 until 3 March, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.