Autumn Lamb Tagine.
Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year. I know in England you are supposed to favour summer with its gorgeously warm days and evenings which stretch into forever with light. Every slightly sunny day you should be out sunbathing in London fields or Hyde Park with the rest of the city. But me, I like being able to wear my favourite jumpers and woolen hoodies. I like being able to snuggle up on the sofa with my Snugs slippers, a glass of red wine in hand and a big hearty warming meal; the kind I would really like to eat all year round but, just can’t do in the summer months. I like that its cooler and we all know you need more energy to keep warm, hence chocolate season begins in earnest. Chocolate and wine, can’t be bad.
Autumn is a wonderfully colourful time of year with those gorgeous reds and oranges and that is where I took inspiration for this recipe. My favourite palette of colours are those autumnal, earthy colours. Hues of browns, red and oranges are the mainstay of not just my wardrobe (and just about everything I own) but are the colours of the best autumnal foods; vegetables like squashes, mushrooms and rich lamb dominate the food of autumn.
I came up with this dish when thinking of the best way to use autumns rich produce. I went through a few ideas before coming up with a Lamb Tagine recipe. A tagine isn’t a traditional way to use up the wonderful produce we get in England but one of my passions is rich, spicy food. I’d highly recommend this recipe, and I think I might be making it again when we have friends come to visit at the weekend.
Autumn Lamb Tagine Recipe.
4 cloves of garlic
1 200g punnet of chestnut mushrooms
100g button mushrooms
¾ harlequin squash
350g diced Lamb
1 bunch parsley
2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
400ml Lamb stock (reduced salt if available)
Water to deglaze pan
Herbs & Spices
2stp dried thyme
Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Garlic mash
1 large butternut squash
1 large sweet potato
4 cloves of garlic
Small of butter
Preheat the oven to 180c. Wash the squash and sweet potato. Pop in a roasting dish with some olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic.
Finely chop the onion and garlic, set aside. On a separate chopping board chop the lamb into bite sized chunks, if it isn’t already so. Measure out the four spices into a bowl.
Add a good glug of olive oil to a deep pan and when warm add the spices. Stir together and cook for 2 minutes before adding the lamb. Brown the lamb in the pan with the spices, making sure to coat in the spicy oil. After 5 minutes remove the lamb to a pan, then deglaze the pan. I did this by adding just a little hot water, enough to loosen the cooked-on spicy oil from the pan. Pour this over the reserved lamb.
Now, in the same pan, add another glug of olive oil then when warm, add the onion and cook slowly over a low heat for 10 – 15 minutes till wonderfully soft, golden and translucent. Whilst this is cooking, prepare the squash by peeling, deseeding and chopping into small chunks. Slice the chestnut mushrooms and wash the button mushrooms. Add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Now time for the tomatoes. Add both cans, followed by the lamb stock, mushrooms and squash. Chop the dates in half, remove the stone and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to an uncovered simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
When the sauce has reduced, remove from the heat and stir every so often. Let it cool for about 10 minutes whilst you make the mash.
Roasted vegetable mash.
Remove the veggies from the oven. Scoop the flesh from both the squash and sweet potato and squeeze the garlic cloves into a sauce pan. Finely chop the bunch of parsley and reserving half to garnish the tagine, add to the vegetables. Add a knob of butter then give it a good mash.
Put the Lamb tagine into a serving bowl and dress with parsley. Serve with the mash.
Recipe, text and photos By Russell Bowes