Quick Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas

, from Issue #38. September, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Quick Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas

Tagine refers to both a conical-lidded vessel and the slow-cooked dishes cooked in it. Its beauty lies in the lid, which traps moisture and aromas during cooking and turns out food that is moist and succulent.

Serves: 4–6


800 grams boneless lamb shoulder meat
½ cup plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons each ground ginger and cumin
1-2 teaspoons harissa or chilli paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 leek, sliced 2cm pieces
1 cinnamon stick
16 dates, stoned
1 x 400 gram tin cooked chick peas
¾ cup crushed Italian tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock

To serve
lemon juice
¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
thick plain yoghurt


Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Trim the meat of excess fat and cut into large bite sized pieces. Put the flour in a dish, season and toss through the lamb, shaking off the excess flour.

Heat the olive oil in the base of a tagine or an oven-proof casserole dish and brown the lamb on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the onions and leek to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Combine the garlic, spices, chilli paste and olive oil with 1 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Stir in the spice paste then add the cinnamon stick, dates and chickpeas and combine well. Stir in the tomatoes, stock and the lamb, along with any meat juices, season and bring to the boil. Cover, place in the oven and braise for 30 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, uncover and cook for a further 5-10 minutes to allow them to reduce.

To serve: Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice and the coriander and serve with a bowl of yoghurt and extra chilli paste. 

Harissa (pronounced hah-RITH-ah): a fiery hot sauce from North Africa, made from chilli, garlic, cumin, coriander and caraway. Can be substituted with good quality chilli paste.