Lamb, Butternut & Apricot Tagine

Prep Time:15 Mins, Cook Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins, Total Time: 1 Hr 45 Mins

November 6, 2013

I LOVE Sunday lunches. Really really love them. And now we’re back living in the UK they’ve magically taken on a whole new dimension. Most Sundays my Mum and Dad bob over for lunch and spend the afternoon with myself and the littlies. It’s always a lovely, warm and happy family occasion and so nice to have such an appreciative audience for my cooking!. My Mum’s an amazing cook but at seventy five is increasingly running out of steam and inspiration and relishes someone else taking over in the kitchen. And I really don’t blame her, she’s been cooking for a long, long time. Both as a professional cookery demonstrator and for her own big family of four children.

I do like my traditional sunday dinner but to be honest more often than not my hamperings are for something a little more interesting these days. This tagine was one such hampering, and made for a perfect family sunday dinner for us all. Possibly a little hot for some kids (or grown ups), but my two just about managed with it. I say just about, as initially they both remarked it was too ‘spiky’ for them, and just as I was about to make them something else I realised they’d both actually polished it all off! I would however strongly suggest adding a smidgen less Ras-el-Hanout if you or your guests are not partial to a bit of a chilli kick.

Tagine’s lend themselves to long slow cooking and are thus a fab vehicle for cheaper meaty offcuts. I used three lamb neck fillets which came in at about £8.50, and since the tagine happily fed my family twice over and I still had a few freezable leftovers this seemed pretty reasonable. Tagine’s are also great for sneaking in a whole barrage of veggies into little tums, especially as veggies like butternut or pumpkin tend to ‘melt’ un-recognisably into the sauce.

As this month’s Four Seasons Food challenge, hosted jointly by Anneli of Delicieux and myself is all about Soups, Stews & One Pot Wonders I shall of course be entering! Since I used cheaper (but incredibly tasty!) lamb cuts and this whole dish stretched to over two big family dinners I’m entering the recipe to this month’s Credit Crunch Munch event. Credit Crunch Munch is the brainchild of Helen and Camila and guest hosted this month by Sarah, aka Maison Cupcake, over at her lovely family food site Dinner with Crayons. And as it’s a made from scratch meal to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays event. Feeling more than a little cheeky I’m also entering it (with prior permission first!) to a wonderful brand new challenge from Vanesther over at Bangers & Mash, called The Spice Trail. Cheeky because this month’s chosen spice is Chilli and I haven’t directly used chilli BUT it is a component of Ras el Ranout!

Challenge Logos Tagine

The Good Stuff:

Butternut Squash, Carrots, Tomatoes, Dried Apricots

Great For:

Pre-Schoolers, Big Kids, Grown Ups, Family Dinners, Sunday Lunches, Weekend Slowies, Making Ahead, Freezing, Hiding Veggies, One Pot Wonder


Serves a family of four at least twice with a few freezable leftovers. Serve with couscous and steamed green veggies.

Special Equipment:

A large hob and ovenproof lidded casserole or Le Creuset. Or indeed a tagine if you have one! I don’t, but it’s perpetually on my ‘christmas list’.

Lamb, Butternut & Apricot Tagine

Ingredients Prep Time:15 Mins, Cook Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins, Total Time: 1 Hr 45 Mins

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ras el hanout
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small cinnamon stick
600g lamb neck fillet, cut into 3cm chunks, any large pieces of fat or sinew removed
3-4 carrots, scrubbed, peeled and cut into chunky slices
1 butternut squash (or equivalent of pumpkin), peeled, de-seeded and cut into 3cm chunks
200g dried apricots
400g tin chopped tomatoes OR 400g fresh chopped tomatoes
600ml lamb or beef stock
3 bay leaves

1) Pre-heat your oven to 180ºc / 160ºc fan / Gas Mark 4
2) Heat the oil in your casserole dish and fry the onion on the hob for 5 minutes. Then the garlic and spices (ras el hanout, coriander, black pepper and cinnamon) for a further 2 minutes, stirring fairly continuously so nothing catches
3) Now throw in all the other ingredients, the lamb, carrots, butternut, apricots, tomatoes, stock and bay leaves. Give everything a good stir and bring to a simmer.
4) Once simmering remove from the hob, add the lid and place in your hot oven for 1 hour
5) Take out of the oven, give everything a thorough stir and place back in the oven for 30 minutes minus the lid.
6) Check the lamb is very tender, if not place back in the oven for a further 30 mins
Serve hot with couscous and an additional green veg if you wish

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14 thoughts on “Lamb, Butternut & Apricot Tagine

  1. Vanesther - Bangers & Mash

    This looks blooming gorgeous, Lou! Really rather please I allowed you to enter this month’s Spice Trail, even though it doesn’t strictly feature chilli. But I’m sure everyone will agree, I’d be a fool not to let it in – and ras el hanout does include chilli after all…

    1. Louisa

      Thanks so much for allowing my dubious entry Vanesther!. So love your new challenge, I’m sure it’s going to be a big spicy hit. Will try and make another proper chilli entry this month 🙂

  2. Anneli Faiers

    That looks sooooo good! I love Ras el Hanout and the pairing of apricots and lamb always gets me. They just work so well together! I am so impressed with your kids for polishing this off… That is very cool. Must say mine are improving alot lately. I think it must be that they are growing up… Great entry for FSF xx

    1. Louisa

      Ras el Hanout is a fab spice mix isn’t it, though I seriously underuse it. I was impressed too that they finished it off as to be honest it was a little hot for them. Francesca’s suddenly turned from a tricky eater (I wouldn’t stay fussy, more totally disinterested and unwilling!) to being quite adventurous and dare I say it, interested in her food! I’ll make a foodie out of her yet!. Big change from 6 months ago.

    1. Louisa

      Thanks Rachel. Squash, sweet potato or pumpkin work just fabulously in a tagine – and have the handy habit of ‘melting’ down into the sauce so can’t be picked out by fussy eaters!



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