This lamb tagine with apricots, chickpeas and squash is really easy to make, full of fantastic flavors and wonderfully comforting. Great on a cold day too.
It’s funny some of the things you get used to living in one place versus another and you don’t really appreciate it until you move. For example now being February, I would have probably been looking forward to winter being about over soon when I lived in the UK, whereas here it’s quite definitely still in the thick of it. Also in London, I was lucky to have a great butcher and farmers markets nearby and between the two had access to some great quality local meat of almost any kind from beef and game to pork and lamb. While we have great fish shops nearby where we are now, access to good meat is a bit more mixed, but we managed to make things a whole lot better when we started our Walden Local Meat box, which I have mentioned before, albeit not by name.
It has been great to receive lots of fantastic meat, with lamb being one I had particularly struggled with the quality of before. And I love lamb, such as in dishes like this lamb tagine with apricots, chickpeas and squash. This is a delicious, easy meal that’s great for colder days and although it takes a little while to cook there’s very little hands-on time. It’s full of flavor, a great way to stretch out not a lot of meat and good for you too, being full of meat, veg, chickpeas and fruit. I’m really excited to share it both with you and all Walden customers as this recipe is being included with the boxes going out this month.
For any if you in the Boston area, I would definitely recommend looking at Walden if, like us, you eat meat fairly regularly. The quality is so much better than anything I have found elsewhere being grass-fed beef, pastured chickens and all locally sourced. True, you don’t get to say exactly what you receive but you can make a lot of preferences to make it close while allowing for availability etc. Personally I like the variety and fact it gets me to cook things I might not otherwise such as porchetta. And the fact it comes frozen, there’s no rush to figure out how to cook things. The meat comes in portions to suit the numbers you cook for and you can choose the size of box to suit you best.
For us, it gives us a decent number of meals over the month without feeling like we have to get through it. We still have plenty of meatless meals and fish.
If you are tempted to try Walden Local Meat, and as I say I would recommend it, be sure to mention “Caroline’s Cooking” if you sign up and you’ll get a $10 discount (and I will too, in full disclosure, which helps me keep this site going!)
If you don’t live in the Boston area then move! Only kidding, of course, but I would recommend looking into similar schemes as they not only provide you with fantastic meat, they provide a sustainable income for local farmers in a way that’s so much better for them than big supermarkets that can only be a good thing.
Making this lamb tagine with apricots, chickpeas and squash
Now I know I haven’t said too much on the recipe yet, but that’s partly since as I say it’s really easy. All you do is soften the onion, add the meat and brown it, add the spices, stir then just cover with water. Let it simmer for a while then add the squash, chickpeas and fruit. Cook a little more until the squash is tender. I generally serve it over couscous, as most tagines are traditionally served, but you could change it up and use quinoa or rice or just have it as it is or with a salad.
This lamb tagine with apricots, chickpeas and squash is a hearty, comforting one-pot meal (well, apart from the couscous) that really is so easy to prepare and perfect for cooler weather. That said, it’s so delicious I would eat it any time, and do. I hope you’ll give it a try as well and agree.
This tagine is full of Moroccan flavors, with tender meat, spices and sweet soft fruit.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil approx
- 1 onion large, diced
- 1 1/4 lb cubed lamb 600g, approx, eg shoulder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 pinch saffron
- water to cover - approx 1 3/4cups/415ml
- 2/3 cup dried apricots 100g
- 2/3 cup dried plums 100g, prunes
- 15.5 oz chickpeas 440g, 1 can, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp honey
- 12 oz butternut squash 340g, or a little more, peeled and de-seeded weight, cut into bite-sized pieces
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat so that you have a thin layer over the bottom and add the diced onion. Cook, stirring now and then, until the onion is going translucent, around 3-5mins.
Add the cubed lamb and brown the meat on all sides, increasing the heat slightly if you need to so that the meat browns rather than stews.
Add the cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and saffron and stir through so the onions and eat are coated and the spices start to cook slightly.
Pour in just enough water to cover the meat (around 1 1/2-2 cups) and bring the pot to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat so that it is just simmering. Leave to cook for around 1 1/2hours.
After this initial cook, you can easily stop the cooking process, allow it to cool and either refrigerate overnight or freeze until you need it. When you continue, add the dried apricots, dried plums, chickpeas, honey and squash and mix them all through well. Top up the liquid if needed until it is just about covering, then continue to simmer, covered or partially covered for another approx 30 minutes until the squash is tender to a knifepoint.
Serve the tagine over couscous.
I used my Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Oval French Oven to make this which worked perfectly.
Try these other deliciously comforting lamb dishes:
Thank you to Walden Local Meats for providing me with the lamb to make this recipe again (after version one wasn’t so pretty!) without additional compensation. All opinions stated are my own.
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