Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Lamb Tagine

If my mother had the time and inclination to read my blog (which apparently she doesn't) she'd probably have to sit down after reading this post.  Because I cooked and ate lamb for my tea.  Yes, that's right mother. I. Ate. Lamb.

Every time I express my frustration about Abigail's fussiness, my mother kindly reminds me that at around two I went through a phase where I would only eat roast lamb.  And then as quickly as the fad started, it stopped and I became obsessed with celery and peanut butter (it's amazing, plastered thickly into the canal bit!).  Since those days, I've never really eaten lamb again.  I think it has something to do with Bernard Matthews' lamb roasts.

The Matthews' 'roasts' were the Turkey Twizzlers of the Eighties.  And I hope if you've ever had one, you will agree with me that they were disgusting.  The scrapings from the meat carcasses bound together with bits of fat and other unmentionables and sold to cash-strapped housewives as the convenient way to put a roast on the dinner table mid-week.  I wish I'd had the conviction as a six-year-old to declare myself as a vegetarian as those meals scarred me for life.  It's only as an adult knowing that I can choose to eat less meat and have better quality cuts that I'm starting to learn to love other meats besides chicken and turkey (although Matthews bastardised those into his 'roasts' too).

Over Christmas, I bit the bullet and made my first ever dish containing stewing steak.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't even consider what I would deem to be 'fatty' meat, but I now know that cooked correctly, the cheapest cuts can be more tender and tasty than the expensive stuff.

Lamb Tagine on herby couscous
So today, it was a toss-up between a mixed bean curry courtesy of La Berry's Complete Cookbook or a Lamb Tagine from BBC Good Food, December edition.  I asked the good people of Twitter-land and the tagine won the day.  Out came the diced stewing lamb, replete with little bits of fat that would ordinarily have me reaching for a carrot to munch instead.  But once the meat was sealed, it looked beautiful.  And after 25 minutes simmering away in the most fragrant smelling sauce, it was so soft and tender that it melted under my knife.

It was also so simple to cook for a midweek, after work meal.  Just seal the meat, fry the onion and then leave to simmer in stock with tomato puree and spices until the sauce has reduced and thickened.  And despite it being lamb, it is surprisingly healthy too at 450 cals for a really hearty meal.

You can find the recipe here.

And yes, mother, if you're reading, I did take that photo and then eat the food.  You can pick yourself up off the floor now.

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