In season, this month is lamb and we have specifically chosen the lamb shoulder. It is a superb cut and surprisingly inexpensive compared to the other cuts of lamb. It is suitable for long, slow cooking which makes it a fabulous meat for that bung in the oven late Saturday morning to be ready for dinner.
While here in Northern Ireland it would be traditionally used in the likes of stews or hot pot with the addition of fresh apricots and cinnamon, and a few other store cupboard ingredients. You can transform your stew into a mouth-watering Tangine filled with warming smells with a rich exotic taste that will leave you cosy and content.
- 1kg Diced Lamb Shoulder
- 300g Apricots
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2tsp Ground Cumin
- 2 tsp Ground Tumeric
- 1 tbsp Sweet Paprika
- 1 tsp Mild Chilli or Hot Paprika
- 1 tsp ras-el-hanout
- 1 220g Tin of Chickpeas Drained
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 Onions Rough Chopped
- 5 Cloves of Garlic
- 80g Sultanas
- 2 tbsp Honey
- 750ml Lamb Stock (chicken is fine when mixed with a little beef stock if you have no lamb)
- 2 x 400g cans of Chopped Tomatoes
- Touch of Lemon Juice and Zest
- Handful of Coriander Leaves
- Small Handful of Mint Leaves
- Putting the cubed lamb in with half the ground spices overnight would give the best flavour.
- Set the oven at 160°C/gas mark 3
- Warm the oil in a deep, heavy-based casserole dish.
- Add the seasoned meat in small batches.
- Remove when it has nicely browned on all sides.
- Peel and roughly chop the onions, then peel and finely slice the garlic.
- Add to the pan with the remaining spices and allow to soften and colour lightly.
- Add the sultanas, honey, stock, tomatoes, and apricots.
- Return the meat to the pan.
- Bring to the boil.
- Season the meat with salt and black pepper.
- Cover with a lid and place in the oven.
- Cook for 2 and a half hours up to 3 hours.
- Lift out the meat with a draining spoon.
- Boil the sauce over a high heat until it is reduced and thick.
- Stir in the roughly chopped coriander and mint leaves.
- Return the meat to the sauce and serve.