November 24, 2009 by ronfluff
It’s certainly getting wintery out there, and perhaps one of the most unlikely seasonal foods right now looks like it should adorn any self-respecting summer salad.
However, the pomegranate is apparently very much in it’s element at the moment. The sharpness of the seeds contrasts with the sweet sauce in this dish and the colours bring a reminder of summer to the otherwise wintery lamb and chest nuts. Christmas in Morocco anyone?
By the way, the tagine as a cooking implement is by no means strictly necessary here, a large pan with a well fitted lid will do the trick.
Tagine of Lamb, Chestnuts, Saffron and Pomegranate
- 2 tbs butter or ghee
- 1kg diced lamb (I used shoulder, but leg is also good)
- 2 onions, chopped finely
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 250g peeled chestnuts (I roasted my own, but you can get them frozen or vacuum packed)
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- pinch of saffron threads
- 1-2 tablespoons runny honey
- seeds of 1 pomegranate
- small bunch fresh mint leaves (chopped)
- small bunch fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
- Salt & pepper
- Heat the tagine/pan and add the ghee (or melt the butter)
- Add the onions, ginger and garlic and saute until softened and coloured
- Stir in the saffron, cinnamon and add the lamb
- Pour in some water to almost cover the meat and bring to the boil
- Once it’s boiling and smelling great, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about an hour
- In this time you can roast your chestnuts for about 20 minutes in a hot oven (about 200 C) if you need to. Remember to put a little cross in the flat side of each chestnut with a small knife, or the lovely smells of your tagine will be accompanied by a version of the 21-gun salute!
- After an hour of slow simmering, add your roasted and peeled chestnuts and stir in the honey.
- Re-cover and cook gently for about 30 minutes more.
- By now the meat should be lovely and tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss in about half each of the pomegranate seeds (click here for the best way to deseed it), chopped coriander and chopped mint.
- Sprinkle the remaining seeds and herbs over the top and serve with some fluffy, buttery couscous or some bread for mopping up.