Lamb with prunes and Moroccan spices
Sunday 12 December 2010
2 boned, medium-sized legs of lamb
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin
4 cardamom pods
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 red onions, peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 cms of peeled fresh root ginger
2 red chillis, chopped, seeds left in
1 tbsp tamarind water or lime juice
5 litres chicken stock or water
800g/11/2lb chopped Italian tomatoes
2 sticks of cinnamon
A generous bunch of coriander
100ml/31/2fl oz tamari or soy sauce
75ml/3fl oz maple syrup
200g/7oz prunes, stones removed
Slice the meat into two-inch cubes, removing most of the fat as you work. Put the spices into a small frying pan and place over a gentle heat until they pop – it is important that they do not burn, as they will become bitter. Remove from the heat and grind well in a pestle and mortar.
Place the oil into a pan, season the meat with salt and pepper well all over and brown well in batches. As each batch browns, remove and set aside while you brown the next batch.
Once all the meat has browned, add the onion, garlic, ginger, chillis and spice mix. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft. At this point, add the tamarind water or lime juice, turn up the heat slightly and add the stock or water and the chopped tomatoes. Add the cinnamon sticks and return the meat to the pan.
Turn the heat to low, place a lid on the pan and cook for two hours. It is important that the meat is very tender and succulent – this will only be achieved by slow cooking.
Chop the coriander, including the root and stems, and add to the pan along with the soy sauce or tamari, maple syrup and prunes. Cook for another 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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