Wow, this term has really got away from me. Things are so busy and I hardly feel like I have time to blog much when I’m in the midst of things at school. I refuse to feel guilty about not posting more often though – free time is such a rarity, and it’s not surprising that as an English teacher, sometimes I’d just rather curl up with a book than hop back onto my laptop! (I’ve just finished reading Anna Smaill’s The Chimes by the way – definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re musically inclined. Sorry – kind of a random plug.)
That doesn’t mean I haven’t been present in the blogging world though – fellow blogger, Genie from Bunny Eats Design, featured yours truly in a little Q & A session. You can check out that post by clicking here. (Oh – and I’ve just realised that I made a grammatical error in it – it should say “scary number of wontons”, not “scary amount of wontons”. One of my colleagues would give me a sharp look for making that error. As she likes to say, “Nobody in the English department is above being corrected!”)
Speaking of my department, one thing we love to do is talk about food and share recipes. One of the teachers brought in a lovely lemon slice the other day and several people asked for the recipe. It came from Julie Le Clerc’s Simple Cafe Food cookbook. While I leafed through the pages one lunchtime, it was this lamb tagine recipe which caught my attention, as I have a huge jar of preserved lemons sitting in my fridge at the moment.
This is a delicious, spicy recipe, perfect for a cold night. You can buy harissa paste, or make it from scratch (recipe below). I was a bit heavy-handed with the salt, so will need to watch that next time. Remember that the stock, plus the preserved lemons, probably means you don’t really need to add much, or any, at all. I actually cooked mine in my flashy pressure cooker which has a sear function, so have included the timing for that below as well. I served it on top of couscous mixed with diced red capsicum and green beans.
If you’re not so keen on spice, or if white meat sounds more appealing to you, then make sure you check out my Moroccan style chicken, preserved lemon and olive tagine.
Moroccan lamb tagine with preserved lemons
1kg diced lamb
2 large onions, peeled and finely diced
1 Tbsp harissa (store bought or from the recipe below)
1/2 C whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp black mustard seeds
6 C chicken stock (unless you are using the pressure cooker – then I’d reduce this to 3-4 C depending on how saucy you want it)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Heat a frying pan, add oil and fry lamb in batches to brown and seal meat. Place lamb into a baking pan.
Lower the heat and sweat the onions until softened. Add harissa, garlic cloves and spices and fry briefly. Add stock and bring to the boil. Pour over lamb, cover pan and bake for 1 hour. (Or if you are using your pressure cooker, cook for 35 minutes. You can reduce the sauce more once the cooking is complete if you wish.) Remove covering and bake for a further 20 minutes. Check flavour of sauce, adding a little salt if necessary. Serve with thinly sliced preserved lemon peel.
100g dried chillies, soaked for 5 minutes in warm water
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp caraway seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
Drain chillies. Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
Store in the refrigerator, covered with a film of oil. Lasts about 3 months.
Makes 1 3/4 C.