FRUITY LAMB TAGINE WITH RED AND WHITE QUINOA

This fruity, mild, and warming tagine is one of our favourite family meals and it’s ideal if you are looking to introduce your children to a bit of spice but want to keep it tame and tasty. Tagines are a great way to load up on vegetables and the dish really allows for a lot of flexibility. In this recipe, I have used the last of our vegetables from our veg box, knowing that our new supply would be delivered the next day. I have added some lovely leftover Batavia lettuce and spinach as well as spring onions, and golden beetroot which was in our 100% UK veg box from Riverford Organic Framers. You can replace this with kale, cavolo nero, red or white onions, and other vegetables in season. You can make up your own ras el hanout spice blend but we used the one from Bart Spice which I bought from Waitrose. The quality of your meat really matters. In the UK we are very lucky to have access to excellent grass-fed lamb. We bought our meat from Riverford Organic Framers but try other ethical organic farms or your local butcher if you are lucky enough to have one that has high standards and works with local farms. We served this tagine with quinoa but you can serve it on its own or with the grain of your choice and if you are looking for a paleo option then cauliflower rice would work well. You can also make your own quinoa but I always keep a few packs of pre-cooked quinoa in my pantry and yesterday it really came in handy as we had a lot going on with the family and needed a nutritious meal fast! I used the red and white quinoa one by Merchant Gourmet. The tagine is a great dish to make in advance and it freezes really well.

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HOW TO MAKE

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius or if using a fan oven to 160 Celsius.
  2. Take a deep casserole dish that can be placed in the oven. We used a casserole dish by Le Creuset. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and place on a stove on a medium heat.
  3. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and cook in batches until browned on all sides. Set aside in a bowel.
  4. In the same casserole dish fry the onions on a medium heat until translucent and then add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick and the ras el hanout and mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the tomato paste and the bone/meat broth and give it a good mix and bring the mixture to a boil.
  6. Add the browned meat and the chopped apricots as well as the butternut squash, golden beetroot and any other root vegetables you are using and combine well.
  7. Cover the casserole dish with a lid and place in the oven for 90 minutes.
  8. Warm the pre-cooked red and white quinoa or make your own, according to the instructions on the package.
  9. Take the Casserole out at 80 minutes and add in the Batavia lettuce and spinach and mix it through and place back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
  10. Place the quinoa in a warmed bowl and top with the tagine and sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and serve with a wedge of lime.

THE SCIENCE BIT

Every single vegetable in this dish will be offering something wonderful to your gut bugs to munch on and contribute to the health of your gut ecosystem, responsible for the health of your immune system, hormone balance, neurotransmitter balance, and so much more. Grass-fed lamb is seldom mentioned as a significant source of omega-3 fats but can provide a valuable amount in the diet, at approximately 50% the amount provided by codfish or tuna on an ounce-for-ounce basis. Grass-fed lamb can also contain valuable amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a health supportive fatty acid. Grass-fed lamb is an excellent source of vitamin B12 and a very good source of protein, selenium and niacin. It is also a good source of zinc and phosphorus.