Tagine of lamb, couscous, preserved lemon and harissa



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Lamb tagine


For the preserved lemons

Rose harissa

Aubergine caviar

To garnish

Begin by preparing the preserved lemons. Cut the lemons into 8 wedges, and place into a pan of water with plenty of salt. Bring the contents of the pan to the boil and, once boiling, remove it from the heat. Leave the pan for 24 hours, carefully covered with cling film
After the lemons have been left to soak for a day, prepare the syrup. In a separate pan, bring the caster sugar and water to the boil. Remove the lemons from the salt water and add to the syrup pan, along with the vanilla, garlic and star anise. Cover the pan with a cartouche and cook the syrup slowly on a low heat for approximately 2 hours, adding more water if necessary to stop the syrup from becoming caramelised. Leave to cool and store in an air tight container until required
To prepare the harissa, place the peppers, chillies and garlic onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season, and place into the oven to roast at at 150°C/gas mark 2 for approximately 1 hour, or until soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes
De-seed the chillies and place them into a mixer along with the roasted garlic, cumin, coriander and paprika. Pulse for 5 seconds, then add the roasted peppers, rose petals and sugar and pulse for a further 10 seconds. Transfer the harissa mix to a bowl and add the red wine vinegar and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season further to taste, and store in the fridge in an air tight container until required
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
To make the aubergine caviar half and score the aubergines, then sandwich the halves back together with salt, olive oil, garlic and thyme. Wrap them in tin foil and bake in the oven for half an hour
When the aubergines are cooked remove them from the oven and leave to cool for ten minutes. Using a spoon, scrape all of the flesh from the skin of the aubergines into a bowl. Chop with a knife to remove any lumps, then mix with the crème fraîche, cumin seeds, parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste, and set to one side until required
To make the tagine, season the lamb and heat a dash of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the lamb to the pan to brown, ensuring it takes on a golden colour all over, then remove from the pan and set to one side
Preheat the oven to 110°C/gas mark 0.25
Using the same pan, cook the garlic, carrots, celery, leeks and onion until they are golden in colour, then add the spices. Stir well and, taking care not burn the vegetables, cook for a further 3 minutes
Add the white wine to the pan with the vegetables and spices and cook until it has reduced by half. Once the wine has reduced, add the lamb stock to the pan and bring it to the boil. Return the browned lamb to the pan, cover with a lid, and cook in the oven for 2.5 hours
Meanwhile, mix together the couscous, vinegar, oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Combine the chicken and saffron stock in a pan along with the salt and bring to the boil, then pour the hot liquid directly over the couscous. Mix thoroughly and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes, or until the couscous has absorbed the liquid and become fluffy
  • 100g of couscous
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • 75ml of chicken stock
  • 25ml of Saffron stock
Use a fork to break down any lumps that form in the couscous while it is still hot. Add the almonds, olives, raisins and peppers to the bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined. Check the seasoning, and garnish with the herbs when ready to serve
Once the lamb has cooked, remove the pan from the oven and leave to cool, until the lamb becomes cool enough to handle. Remove the lamb from the sauce and set aside, before straining the liquid through a muslin cloth and returning to the pan. Heat until the liquid has reduced by half and return the lamb to the pan. Check the seasoning, and keep warm until ready to serve
Peel the carrots and cut into large barrels. Add to the pan, return to the heat and simmer in the liquid until tender
To serve, divide the couscous between four plates and top with a portion of lamb. Arrange the carrot and lemon wedges next to the meat and spoon over the lamb sauce. Garnish with coriander cress and serve the harissa and aubergine caviar on the side
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