Lamb and Apricot Moroccan Tagine

I like to serve this lovely spicy, hauntingly flavoured tagine with cous cous but rice or green beans and bread are good alternatives. The finished stew doesn’t photograph well so my picture shows all the ingredients gathered before I started cooking. Don’t worry if you seem to have an excess of liquid, it will soon soak into the cous cous or rice and will be delicious mopped up with bread.

Serves 3-4
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 60 min

2 large onions
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
generous pinch saffron threads
3 tsp ras al hanout
800g diced lamb neck fillet or shoulder
150g dried apricots
4 salt-preserved lemons
400ml light chicken stock (a cube is fine)1
50g bunch coriander

Halve, peel and chop the onions. Soften in 2 tbsp oil to a spacious, heavy-bottomed lidded pan (or tagine) over a medium heat. Peel, chop and crush the garlic. Sprinkle the saffron over the onions stirring as it colours the hot juices. Stir in the garlic followed by the ras al hanout, stir-frying for a couple of minutes. Fold the meat through the onions until all the pieces change colour, then add the apricots and stock. Quarter the preserved lemons, scrape away seeds and slice each piece in 2 or 3 strips. Chop the coriander, slicing the stalks finely. Add stalk half of the coriander and prepared lemon to the pot. Simmer steadily, covered, for 45 minutes. Check the meat is very tender, if not cook on a bit longer. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir in remaining coriander just before serving.