April 5, 2013
Honey and Lemon Lamb Tagine
You might remember Dear Readers, that a few months ago I wrote a post about the lovely people over at Capilano Honey and their delicious 100% owned and grown Australian Honey.
While celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, they are still certainly committed to coming up with exciting and yummy new ideas including the latest Honeyfusions- delicious pure Australian Honey with unique flavours including Honey & Vanilla Bean and Honey & Lemon perfect for cooking and baking, in tea, on top of desserts and ice-cream, or pancakes and crumpets. Yummo!
Let me tell you- they are GOOD! The Honey and Vanilla was the pick for my family, and I have hidden it just to make sure that I can get some before they scoffed it all, but the Honey and Lemon is lovely as well. There were some gorgeous sounding recipes on the Capilano website and all, but I really like to use honey as a savoury ingredient so decided to use it in something just a little bit different.
Lemon and honey to me speak of a lovely sweet/tart middle eastern type of cooking. Lamb is a good match for the flavour combination, and using fruit is the perfect way to pull all the flavours together into one glorious whole. I decided to make a Honey and Lemon Lamb Tagine.
A tagine is a slow cooked type of stew that is traditionally cooked in a domed vessel that's also called a tagine. It uses very little liquid because the steam is trapped inside the dish and creates it's own delicious sauce. I don't have a real tagine to play with, so I used a cast iron casserole dish with a tight fitting lid instead, but you could also slow bake this in the oven or use a slow cooker or pressure cooker instead if you like. I promise I won't tell :)
Honey and Lemon Lamb Tagine
1kg Lamb- I used lamb steak
Chickpeas 1 tin, rinsed and drained
Prunes, about a cup or so to taste
1 big Onion
3 or 4 fresh Tomatoes
inch of fresh Ginger
2 Cinnamon sticks
pinch of Saffron
1/4 cup Capillano Honey and Lemon Fusion
(or 1/4 cup honey and juice and rind of half a lemon cut into strips, or some slices of preserved lemon instead)
splash of Oil
To make a lovely smooth sauce base for the tagine, grate together the onion, tomato and ginger. Of course you can chop them up, but this is just a bit nicer and more refined. You don't want there to be a lot of liquid in the dish, the end result should be just nice and moist not swimming in sauce
Place the saffron in a tablespoon of warm water and let it infuse while you get on with the rest of the prep. Saffron is such a lovely ingredient with a sort of musty, honey scented hay vibe going on. That doesn't sound very appealing, but it really tastes quite lovely- I promise! Oh, and just bragging, but this is my very own homegrown saffron BTW :)
Brown off the lamb in a splash of oil to seal in all the lovely juices and make it look appealing too
Time to add in the rest of the ingredients now
Dollop on the tomato mixture, scatter on the chickpeas, dot the prunes around artistically, pour over the saffron and water, and tuck the cinnamon sticks in too
Now the star ingredient, drizzle the honey evenly all over the tagine ingredients
It will infuse the mix with a lovely mix of sweet and tart, and help turn the sauces nice and glossy in the finished dish
Simmer gently for about 30-45 minutes, or until the meat is lovely and tender and just starting to fall apart. Of course if you're using a secondary cut of meat or chunks it might take longer, so just check on it from time to time and make sure that there is just enough liquid in the pot to stop it sticking and drying out.
About half way through the cooking time, turn the meat over and just sort of poke the rest of the ingredients about a bit. If you give it a good stir the prunes and meat will break up and the dish will look messy later on, so be gentle
I served my tagine on quinoa instead of gluteny cous cous, but you could use rice instead if you like.
The meat was so tender it could be cut with a fork, the chickpeas had become nice and creamy, and the sauce had become glossy and syrupy and sweet.
Just before digging in, I drizzled another little teaspoon over each plate to freshen it up a little and just reinforce the flavour profile of sweet and tart all in one. Yummo!
So Dear Readers, what's your favourite Honey recipe, and would you prefer Honey and Lemon or Honey and Vanilla?
Disclosure: Honey was gifted by the lovely people at Capilano. Thanks guys!