Drinking Under the Moon

"Poetry and hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. All you can do is go where they can find you" – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Lamb, apricot and butternut sqaush tagine.

I first made this as a treat for my parents when they had come back from a long journey. Having lived in the Middle East for a large proportion of my life, the basis of everyday cooking was made up of one-pot-wonders and slow cooked meat dishes (normally with lamb or chicken). If you prefer you can replace the lamb in the recipie with diced chicken for a lighter flavour which is just as good.

Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
Olive Oil
500g diced leg of lamb (or chicken)
1 Large chopped red onion
2 carrots, diced
2 leeks
1 whole, seeded and diced butternut sqaush
a handful of apricots
a heaped teaspoon of cinnamon
a heaped teaspoon of cumin
diced ginger (as much as you feel necessary)
1 chicken stock cube/ one heaped teaspoon of powder
1 teaspoon of treacle (or honey for a lighter flavour)
3/4 whole cloves
1 clove garlic

To serve:
– A few sprigs of mint and some toasted pine nuts
– Either couscous or rice.

The best thing about this recipie is that it is one pot! so pick a large based pan that is fairly deep (the Jamie Oliver ones are perfect for the purpose) – It will need to be quite big so prepare yourself.

1) Preheat the oven to 140C and put the hob on full heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chopped onion with the meat and carrots immediately and allow to brown for about 5 minutes.

2) Add the leeks and sqaush along with the spices, ginger and garlic. Give a good stir and then add the treacle and stock with a little water.

3) turn down the hob and simmer for about 20 minutes, then put on the lid and place in the oven for about an hour, once past this point – you can either take it out to serve or turn the oven down to about 100 degrees and leave there to slow cook until satisfied with the dish.

Often I like to make this the day before and then reheat on a low temperature for an hour before serving to make sure it is really tender.

before you serve, sprinkle the mint and pine nuts ( I sometimes serve with some greek yoghurt as well).

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