Headway’s lamb and tomato tagine with seven vegetables, chickpeas and couscous

Seven vegetablesThis recipe is based on using regular pans and oven trays, but if you have a tagine, then great, and you probably know how to adapt this recipe to use it!

Serves 4–6

For the tagine:
750g bone-in lamb breast or similar
1 large onion, sliced along the grain
250g cherry tomatoes
1/3 bunch coriander, roughly chopped (by bunch, I mean one of the large bunches you normally find in Turkish shops, not a supermarket-sized pack!)
1/3 bunch flat parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp ras-el-hanout
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon or 1 large cinnamon stick
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp each of caraway seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds toasted and ground
handful of sultanas soaked in hot water
olive oil

For the seven vegetables:
spices as above, omitting the ras-el-hanout
1 large onion, sliced along the grain
3 sticks of celery with the leaf attached (ideally, this should be from the long, green celery with all its leaves attached that you can find in lots of Turkish stores), chopped and leaves finely chopped
1/3 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1/3 bunch flat parsley, roughly chopped
3–4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
250g cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper, chopped into large chunks
1 green pepper
1 white courgette, chopped into eighths or so
1 green courgette, chopped into eighths or so
1 aubergine, chopped similarly to the courgette

For the chickpeas:
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, (or equivalent dry, soaked and cooked)
100 g sultanas soaked in vegetable stock or hot water with a good pinch of saffron strands
tsp honey
1/3 bunch chopped flat parsley
1/3 bunch chopped coriander

For the couscous:
200g quick cook couscous
50g butter, clarified
1 tsp paprika

For the tagine, heat the oven to 180°c and rub the meat with the spices and a glug of oil and leave for half an hour to marinate while the oven heats up.

In the meantime, sweat the onions and celery in a decent amount of olive oil in a large, flat, lidded pan and when the onions are transparent, add the seven vegetable spices and the garlic and continue to cook for a minute or two. Add the other vegetables and half of the seven vegetable herbs, cover with vegetable stock or water and simmer gently with the lid on for 5 minutes. Transfer to a suitable oven-proof dish, lidded or tightly covered with foil, and put to one side.

Now brown the lamb, in batches if necessary, and put to one side while you sweat the tagine onion until transparent. Add the browned lamb and juices and the cherry tomatoes to the pan, then add the herbs and sultanas and transfer to the oven in a tightly lidded dish for 1.5 hours (or longer at a lower temperature if you have time).

When the meat is 40 minutes away from being done, put the vegetables into the oven alongside the lamb and start cooking the chickpeas. In a sauté pan, add all of the chickpea ingredients except the herbs and simmer gently for 10–15 minutes. Check the seasoning and add the chopped herbs just before you serve.

Add the paprika and a decent amount of salt to the clarified butter and rub thoroughly through the dry couscous in a large mixing bowl. Cover the couscous with boiling water to just a couple of millimeters above the top. It should just need fluffing up with a fork and checking for seasoning in ten minutes’ time.

Remove the lamb and the vegetables from the oven, stir through the remaining herbs and check the seasoning on both.

To serve, put couscous onto the plate, then top with vegetables and some of the liquid, then lamb and juices, then chickpeas. For vegetarians, omit the lamb and add extra chickpeas.

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