This warming soup is really just a bit of a twist on a tagine – and you could easily replace the lamb with chicken if you prefer.
250g neck of lamb cut into 1-2cm pieces (or 250g chicken thighs)
1tbsp vegetable or corn oil
1tbsp olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
30g root ginger, peeled and finely grated
2tsp ground cumin
tsp ground cinnamon
tsp ground cardamom
A good pinch of saffron
2tsp tomato purée
2ltrs lamb or beef stock
120g canned chickpeas, drained and washed
10 dates, stoned and halved
1tbsp chopped coriander
Season and lightly flour the pieces of lamb then pan-fry them in the vegetable oil for a couple of minutes on each side or until they are nicely browned. Put them to one side.
Meanwhile, gently cook the onions in the olive oil in a covered pan with all the spices for about 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often until they are soft. You may need to add a little water if they are sticking to the bottom.
Add the flour and tomato purée then whisk in the lamb stock and bring to the boil. Add the lamb, season and simmer gently for about an hour, or until the lamb is tender. Add the chickpeas and simmer for another 30 minutes, then add the dates and coriander; simmer for 10 minutes. Re-season if necessary and serve.