Today’s recipe uses Welsh Lamb, my favourite source for lamb. When you buy Welsh Lamb, you know you are getting meat of the best quality with its certified PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status that guarantees the meat has been reared and prepared to the highest standard.
I was kindly given some organic lamb by the folks at Welsh Lamb to cook up a tantalising healthy lamb dish to promote their “Lamb is Healthy” campaign. I have to say now that the meat really was one of the best we’ve had.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to make a healthy dish using (Welsh) lamb. Let’s debunk the myth that lamb is a fatty food; there are plenty of lean cuts available for the health conscious foodie. It’s an excellent source of high quality protein, zinc and iron – all essential parts of a balanced diet. Protein is especially important as part of a weight loss diet as it speeds recovery after exercise, curbs hunger and reduces muscle loss. Protein in lamb is nutritionally complete, with all eight essential amino acids in their proper ratios. On top of that, lamb is one of the best sources of absorbable iron.
To cook our lamb today, we’re heading to Morocco for the recipe! Below is a picture of a spice seller in a souk in Rabat, Morocco. A souk (or souq) is an open air market in North African towns that sells everything! We had great fun wandering through the souks in the various towns when we were living in Morocco last year.
This lamb tagine recipe is a very popular recipe in my Moroccan cooking classes, it epitomises what tagine recipes should be, layers of subtle flavour created with just a few ingredients. If you’ve never cooked a tagine before, this is a good recipe to start with, it’s fuss free, allowing you to understand and enjoy the experience of cooking tagines and Moroccan food generally.
Don’t own a tagine? Don’t sweat. A good, heavy based casserole dish will do just as nicely. Unless you are using an unglazed tagine and cooking it on hot coals, the taste isn’t going to be a whole lot different. Having said that, tagines are not expensive at all. Here in the UK, you can get one that feeds about 6 people for £15 ($22). Let’s face it, tagines are so pretty, they make a statement all on their own!
I’m giving you cooking instructions for both methods, in a tagine as well as a regular old saucepan/casserole dish.
So, do yourself and your family a favour, treat them to some healthy Welsh Lamb and cook up this beautiful Lamb Tagine with Olives!
Don’t forget to check out my North African and Middle Eastern Page for more exotic recipes!Print
An easy lamb tagine with olives. Can be cooked in a regular saucepan.
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 medium onions, sliced in rings
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced in rings
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp powdered ginger
- half tsp freshly ground black pepper
- half tsp turmeric
- pinch saffron, crumbled
- small handful fresh coriander, finely chopped and a little bit more for garnish
- 2 tbsp EV olive oil
- half cup green olives, pitted
- 125 ml (half cup) water
- pine nuts or toasted almond flakes for garnish (optional)
- some harissa on the side as condiment (optional)
Cooking in a tagine
- Place the lamb pieces in a large bowl and coat it with the salt, ginger, pepper, turmeric, saffron and olive oil. You could leave the lamb to marinate at this point for a couple of hours if you fancy. I usually don’t bother.
- Place a layer of onion rings on the base of the tagine, followed by a layer of tomatoes.
- Top these layers with the lamb, including any/all juices in the bowl.
- Carefully, pour the water in from the side, being careful not to “rinse” any of the lamb.
- Scatter the rest of the onions and the olives all over.
- Cover with the tagine lid and cook on low medium on a diffuser and bring to a simmer. Once it’s simmering, cook for about 2 hours until the lamb is done.
- There is no need to check on the lamb, it shouldn’t dry out.
In a pot
- Place the lamb pieces in a large bowl and coat it with the salt, ginger, pepper, turmeric, saffron and fresh coriander. You could leave the lamb to marinate at this point for a couple of hours if you fancy.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan on medium heat.
- Sauté the onions for about 2-3 minutes until translucent.
- Add the marinated lamb and stir to brown slightly, a minute will suffice.
- Add the tomatoes, olives and water and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and continue simmering for about 2 hours until the lamb is cooked. You may have to add more water if it dries up, which it won’t in a tagine. Do not be tempted to use stock, you’ll lose all subtlety!
- Serve with the fresh coriander and nuts scattered all over. Perfect with cous cous, rice, quinoa and of course, all sorts of bread!
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: North African